In today’s digital world, it’s almost expected that any brand you interact with will gather some data on you. We recently wrote about how even though that can feel a little unsettling at times, this information can actually be harnessed and used to create a better customer experience. As marketers, we can use data to provide timely and relevant information, ultimately leading to an increased likelihood of clicks, engagement, and business. The key, however, is to strike the right chord of using your customers’ data enough to provide them with relevance, but not so much that you’re overstepping and creeping them out.

Step 1: Let Them Know You’re Using Their Data to Improve Customer Experience

It’s all about the journey
Customer experience is expected to overtake pricing and product as the key deciding factor when choosing between brands, and 86% of buyers say they’re were willing to pay a higher price for a brand that provides a better journey.1 In a sea of generic marketing emails, it’s more critical than ever for brands to provide the best experience possible in order to stand out and keep people’s attention. By using data in a thoughtful way, you can curate an experience that will build a strong relationship with your customers and keep them coming back to your brand.

Customers want you to use their data
It’s no longer enough to send out one-size-fits-all messaging—people crave and expect a true 1:1 email experience. In fact, 40% of customers say they’re more likely to click on and view something that’s been recommended based on information they’ve provided to a brand.2 You can use their data to send them better, more relevant offers and products, for things they actually need at the time they are needed. For instance, if you have data indicating someone typically takes an annual trip around Memorial Day, in the months leading up to the date, you might send them deals on flights and hotels for the end of May. This way, you’re letting your customers know that their data is being used for good—to anticipate their needs.

Step 2: Build Trust and Remain Ethical

Be transparent
Now that you’re using data to provide a curated experience, it’s time to be upfront about it; you shouldn’t be hiding behind the scenes and leaving customers in the dark about how you found out they were looking for a pair of burgundy shorts. Be transparent, allow customers to ask questions, provide them with information, and of course, give them a way to opt out of any emails or programs you may be running. 

Adjust your KPIs
Don’t sacrifice your customers’ data and privacy for conversions. You want people to be able to trust you and have the best brand experience possible. Take a more ethical and healthy approach by gearing your goals to be considerate of your users’ data. Click-throughs and conversions happen when those using your service don’t feel that their data is being abused for your financial gain.

Comply with privacy laws and advocate for them
22% of customers say they’ll drop a brand if they get creeped out.3 Don’t lose valuable customers because you abused their data and didn’t show them how seriously you take their privacy. There are a variety of laws and regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), that are put in place to help protect people’s data. Complying with these laws and regulations—and advocating for other companies to follow them—not only lets customers feel they can trust that you’re tapped into the latest regulations, but it also helps improve your brand’s image.

We hope these tips will help you use your data to give your customers a better and more personalized experience—without going overboard and creeping them out. And remember: be sure to secure your network and practice what you preach. Don’t play around with something as important as personal data. Take pride in protecting data, just as you’d want yours to be protected.