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The Customer Experience Is Always Right

The customer is not always right. Bad actors exist for every business. Some abuse policies that try to make the customer experience easier.

The latest example is Amazon banning customers for returning too many items. Amazon believes, in this case, that the customer is not right.

However, the customer experience is right. The Amazon experience is less than it was before and that is a mistake.

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Privacy as an opportunity

Right now, there is a lot of concern around privacy. Marketers that I have spoken with and more articles than I can count grouse about the coming storm. GDPR is not in the US, but something similar may make its way here.

The concern is growing about how to effectively market to customers if you cannot track them. Personalization is not going to work. We have to create this insane cookie policy. People can request to be forgotten.

The current climate of privacy concern is an opportunity, not a problem. Let’s take a step back from what we track. To be effective at customer experience we need to stop thinking about data.

Your organization has more data across more systems than it needs. Data without purpose is a liability. Marketers are not in the data collection business, so we need to get out of that mindset.

Think about interactions and experiences that are valuable to your visitors instead. If privacy laws are a concern, you are approaching marketing backwards. Most visitors will agree to provide data if you are giving value to them. We are all customers and visitors.

We all want more transparency and more convenience. We are willing to pay for convenience. Develop the valuable experiences as a first step. Next, detail and understand the data required to deliver those experiences.

I cannot stress this enough. It seems like common sense, but we know that sometimes common sense is not so common. Lead with the experience and everything else will follow.

What data do you need to deliver value to the visitor that will make it better for them? If you need 7 data points, then why would you collect more? Today you have an unreadable privacy policy and terms and conditions. It is far easier to explain to a visitor why you are collecting 7 points of data and its uses.

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Understand the data you collect

Know what data you are collecting and why you are collecting the data. Conventional wisdom has been to collect as much data as you can. You never know when you may need it.

In the future you put this data into a Big Data database and run Machine Learning on it to discover your customers. First, that wisdom is nonsense for most businesses.

Second, and be honest, what year do you think your marketing department will have the budget for ML, AI and Big Data? Are you even creating enough content for your personalization efforts?

Third, you should know your customers, not leave it to some machine. Those processes are tools to provide insights, not answers.


Focus on the experience

Back to the customer experience. It is the single most important part of what marketers do. You must create a valuable experience for your customers. Will some customers abuse it? Sure.

Do we throw our hands up and punish our customers for the actions of a few? That is not a long-term winning strategy. My experience with Amazon and why I use it is for convenience.

I know I can purchase something online and return it if I do not like it. Now, Amazon is training me to buy discriminately. I will purchase less as a result. Remove enough value and I will no longer be a customer.

Use the current concern around privacy to your advantage. Companies that embrace the challenge and leverage it to create valuable customer experiences will win. Companies that ignore the challenge and collect data indiscriminately will be left behind.

In the future, marketers will need more data. The data will be more personal. The new data will create better and timelier experiences. Build trust with your customers today to leverage the experiences of tomorrow.

Wouldn’t you love it to go to a website that states exactly what they are collecting and for what purpose?

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