For a growing number of companies, the effective use of customer data is like winning the lottery. Through proper collection and analysis of Big Data, as well as workable action plans, organizations can literally transform their businesses. Companies like Tesco and AT&T, for instance, have revolutionized their customer experiences by putting data at the center of their business strategies.
For many businesses, winning on customer data has become a competitive differentiator, but to continue their winning streaks, organizations must let go of the controls and put customers in the driver's seat.
In today's feature, "The Skinny on Customer-Controlled Data," Judith Aquino, shows how companies are beginning to see value in allowing consumers to control some of the information that's collected about them, and to shed more light on their data collection practices to explain how the data is used.
With the media reporting on data breaches almost weekly, the need for increasing transparency around the collection and use of data for enhanced data protection and privacy is apparent. Just last week alone, P.F. Chang's, Riverside Health Systems, and sandwich chain Jimmy John's reported that customer data breaches had occurred over the summer.
The heightened number of breaches unveils the urgency for increased data protection as well as the need to establish customers' expectations up front about how their information will likely be used.
Some companies have built customer portals, or preference centers, to enable data control. Aquinio highlights how Michaels and The Home Depot are letting customers create profiles about their preferences and interests to receive relevant messages.
As the need for customer data protection grows and consumers become more in control of how they do business with companies, organizations must look long and hard at becoming data-first businesses. This entails rebuilding their business models so that data drives insights and serves as the foundation for their corporate culture. Rather than rely on gut feel, data must drive every decision, and customers must be given options on what data they want to provide as well as the knowledge about how their information is being used.
With the proper controls in place, a data-first, data-transparent organization will likely entice customers to conduct more business with its brand because it will become a company they trust, ultimately generating increased revenue and value for the company.