The Data Conundrum: The Give and Take of Data to Get Smart Customer Service

Scott Horn | July 23, 2015

We are in a data conundrum. Brands who are looking to exceed customer expectations need their customers’ data to anticipate what their customers want and how they want to be served. Customers who are expecting smart customer service have to agree to share their data to get it. In the age of data hacks and constant spamming, it’s not surprising that customers are reluctant. So what data are consumers actually willing to share and what can companies do to make them feel more secure? That was the focus of the third series of conclusions from [24]’s Customer Engagement Index in which we surveyed 3500 respondents, 1200 in the US, to examine the current data conundrum and determine what information consumers are comfortable sharing and when. See the infographic on the data conundrum.

What Data will Consumers Share?

Today’s customers are more willing to share data than companies might think. While there are many cases of customers looking to protect their information from third-party lists, spam and other violations, many consumers are surprisingly willing to offer certain aspects of their data to brands if there is a clear benefit to them. Consumers are beginning to see that sharing data actually helps to improve their overall experience and relationship with a company.

In our recent survey, seven out of every ten respondents said that they were willing to share some data with brands to improve their customer experience! This surprising data shows that companies have an opportunity to gather more data than they realized in order to optimize customer engagement. It was also interesting to see that while 24% of respondents were willing to share their location with a brand and 18% were willing to share what type of device they use, only 6% were willing to share their past purchases. This highlights that while consumers are beginning to become more comfortable with providing some of their data, they are still hesitate to share everything, such as past purchases, that may lead to more advertisements or improper marketing from brands.

Show Consumers How They Benefit

How do brands get beyond the data conundrum? It is clear that consumers expect smart customer service. 53% of respondents said that they believe customer service should be effortless and fast and 29% of respondents said that anticipating a customer’s needs is a top attribute for great customer service. If companies can explain how they use specific data and show how that data directly connects to anticipating customer needs, that will go a long way in solving the data conundrum.

As many of my math teachers said growing up, “you need to show your work!” Showing customers how data is used and demonstrating a fantastic experience will enable them to trust your brand. Building these types of relationships with consumers will enable brands to be successful in their customer engagement.