Paul Fennemore, Digital Transformation & Customer Experience Consultant Sitecore
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Empty database after GDPR? How to earn back customers in 2019

3rd Jan 2019
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istock/CSA

Less than 30% of customers opted in to receive email marketing from brands during the GDPR deluge of May 2018. Is it time we focused in on winning back the 70% who left us?

The events of last year's GDPR enforcement has left a huge hole in most customer databases.

That’s a problem when - under the new GDPR rules - organisations are not allowed to collect, store and use personal information such as their name, email and phone number, as well as their internet browsing habits, without the individual’s consent.

A recent Sitecore survey found that consumers in the UK are comfortable with brands knowing their information including name (78%), email (74%), address (53%) and browsing history (42%). However, brands that have failed to earn their customers’ trust and bombarded them with irrelevant content and promotions will find that their databases have significantly shrunk.

So, with a new year and a new perspective, what can your organisation do to win back customer trust and build up their CRM systems in 2019? The answer is a long-term strategy that includes personalisation and value-added techniques to regain the trust of the consumer.

Earn back trust by delivering tangible added value

Customers won’t put up with being spammed with irrelevant information anymore. GDPR has given them the opportunity to only opt-in if they are happy with the interactions they’re receiving from the brand and can be offered something in return. The good thing is that the data of customers that have now opted-in, is far more valuable than the chunks of collated data from multiple fragmented sources that brands owned before.

This is because the relationship with the customer is more explicit as the brand has confirmation that he or she is interested in receiving content from them and therefore provide better services to the customers that really matter.

Customers won’t put up with being spammed with irrelevant information anymore.

Also, how brands are using the data of customers that have opted-in is key. Brands should think about moving beyond personalisation to individualisation to ensure they garner real value from the data and therefore deliver a great customer experience. By combining multiple data sets from every channel, brands can move away from using information about a customer’s past, to marketing to them based on their current wants or needs.

Delivering tangible added value for your customers includes supporting, informing, educating and even entertaining them across physical and digital touchpoints. After all, today’s customers are using more channels and platforms than ever before.

Therefore, brands need to employ a coherent cross-channel customer experience strategy using tactics such as social media influencer moderation voice search, and personalisation to reach and involve them. For example, when voice assistants are integrated with customer data on location, browsing history and shopping habits, voice requests will only return personalised results to the user.

They’ll know that when they next use voice search they will be getting what they want as a result and will therefore be happy to share more personal information with the brand. That way the customer will not only feel more valued but will also be less frustrated as they won’t receive a load of irrelevant results.

Consider new models

Brands that have operated the same way for decades are being challenged by new business models from start-ups that think differently and are able to respond to customer needs much more quickly. This disruption comes from customers’ demand of unique, personalised and convenient experiences, without having to commit to contracts.

These types of business models ensure that you have a customer base of loyal and engaged customers that have given you the permission to reach out to them with news, updates and personalised offers. This is all made possible through the power of data.

The subscription-based model provides convenience and flexibility for the customer – Deloitte research suggests that millennials are not concerned about owning things, but they care more about the experience. Dollar Shave Club, which started its subscription model only five years ago, is a great example. Today it has a 54% share of the US online shaving market simply by making people’s lives easier.

The Dollar Shave Club model is simple and cheap (subscriptions starts from $1 a month) – customers subscribe to have razor blades delivered to their door monthly and they can leave at any time and have their money back if they’re not happy with the service.

Also, companies that offer such models haven’t been as impacted from GDPR as high street retailers, because consumers are happy for them to have their data as they value the convenience of the service they get in return.

Think convenience

The member-based business seems almost limitless nowadays – from the aforementioned Dollar Shave Club to grocery delivery services offered by the likes of HelloFresh - consumers sign-up because they provide an ideal mix of convenience, quality and value.  

Over time, by employing a coherent cross-channel customer experience strategy and switching to subscription/membership -based models where applicable, brands will be able to gain more accurate and valuable data. This would equip them to better serve their customers and thereby acquire even more insights and deepen the existing customer relationships.

And remember that happy and engaged customers, whether online or in store or a mixture of both, are synonymous with well-established business practices and digital maturity.  

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