How much privacy do customers expect?

Finding a customer has never been easy. It’s even more complicated to predict who will buy, when, and at what price, but there are now more opportunities than ever to understand your customers.

Let’s say there is a long weekend coming and you usually leave town and then head straight to work after your break. On the Friday before you leave, you receive a call from a retailer that you only occasionally use.

The executive introduces himself and his organisation:

“We know that this is a long weekend and you usually go out of town… so where are you planning for this upcoming long break? And, by the way, how is the new job?”

You are surprised and don’t respond, since it’s a very personal approach. The executive then defines the purpose of the call by saying: “we have noticed that you don’t come to shop for your regular items for about 10 days after every long weekend. So we have started this new service where we can deliver your regular items to the doorstep – should we just deliver your regular purchases next week?”

We all know shops use loyalty cards to track our spending patterns, but when they start connecting together their own loyalty data with publicly available data from social networks – such as holidays you are taking – then could this scenario be possible?

Well, it’s already possible and there are advantages for the customer and the retailer, but will the customers accept this as an advantage (better service) or will it be seen as an invasion of privacy (even though much of the data was already public)? Only time will tell, but I’m expecting a call like this anytime soon…

coney island bird man


Photo by Barry Yanowitz licensed under Creative Commons

This entry was posted in Contact Centres, Current Affairs, Customer Service, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How much privacy do customers expect?

  1. Eptica says:

    As you say Matt is a difficult balancing act – as British Airways found out last year when it launched its ‘Know Me’ system which allowed staff to identify frequent flyers and provide personalised service. It is about getting informed consent from the customer and demonstrating that the value they’ll receive outweighs any privacy concerns. More in our blog post at

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