Permissions & Preferences: Your Key to a Great Customer Experience

Tracy Borreson on June 28, 2020

All consumers are looking for a better customer experience—online, onsite, or through the call center. They expect you to know who they are at all times; to be aware of their full relationship, and to meet the needs that they don’t even realize they have.

With common sense, consumers also understand that if they don’t share anything, you can’t know anything. So, the trick is to help them understand the value they’ll receive from giving you their information, and to establish trust, so they will believe that you will use it responsibly to create the best experience for them.

No pressure – we got this.

Like everything else related to Customer Experience, there are two important factors that need to be considered:

1) Your systems

2) Your people

Let’s talk about systems. With all the channels available today for consumers to interact with your brand, it is imperative that you have systems to align these channels. You don’t want to risk that valuable information collected in a call center will get lost between that interaction and a store or branch, unless you’re trying to forego the sale. Which none of us are; it’s just that our systems all too often indicate otherwise.

We can’t even get into the conversation about collecting permissions and preferences if we don’t have the systems to support this; so…

Action #1: Align Your Data Systems

Easy for a software company to say, right? For those of you NOT employed by a company full of developers, there’s an easy way to connect all of your seemingly disparate systems. Almost all data repositories nowadays, including your email services providers, now offer API’s (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow data to easily flow between systems. Once these nifty connectors are set up, your data can seamlessly flow between all your systems, in real-time, with real value.

With all your data systems aligned, you can now move on to step 2…

Action #2: Collect Permissions & Preferences EVERYWHERE

Why wouldn’t I ask someone on my website if they’d like to receive claims updates on their phone? It’s as simple as adding a check box to your current forms that let people sign up. I am still at a loss at to why this doesn’t exist everywhere, already, but seriously—just do it.

And, just like that, you have all the systems you need in place to capture your customers permissions and preferences. Now to convince them to give you that data…

Action #3: Create Customer Value

Your customers, just like you, don’t want to give anything if they aren’t getting any value in return. You need to create a value proposition for every piece of data you want from them. For example, if you ask them,

Would you like to add your phone number to your account?

Some people might add their phone number, but you are counting on them to determine the value they’ll be getting by doing so.

Try this one, instead:

Would you like to add your phone number to your account so that we can send immediate updates:

  • when there is a status change on your claim?
  • when there’s a special offer on the ottoman you were looking at today?
  • if your account has been flagged for fraud?

In these scenarios, we are referencing activities that people can immediately relate to in terms of value, thereby NOT leaving it totally up to them to create the connection.

With a good value proposition, you will find yourself in a good position with a lot of customer data, giving you great power in your communication efforts—including marketing and relationship building. At this stage, it is imperative that you don’t forget…

With great power, comes great responsibility.

I love a good quote. And, the accuracy of this one is particularly relevant. Your customers are putting a ton of faith in you by providing this data. It is YOUR responsibility to turn that raw data into customer experience gold; that’s what’s going to create the loyal, raving fans that you always wanted.

The SPLICE ROCC program was designed to provide businesses a connected, central customer consent and channel preference database.

Editor's Note: this blog was originally published in August 2017 but was updated in June 2020 for consistency and freshness.