What Motivates Us to Offer Up Personal Information?

We, aka consumers, aren’t so gung-ho when it comes to sharing our personal information with the places we shop…or are we?

target-gift-card-offerI think it’s true that we all have privacy concerns but when it comes to giving up that precious info to save a few bucks, it seems that many consumers (me included) have no problem with it. According to a recent study shared by TechRepublic that was conducted by YouGov and [24]7 (a customer experience company), almost half (43%) of more than 1,000 consumers surveyed said they had no problem offering up their personal “deets” to a company in order to save money with promotions or through discounts. The study also found that 39% of them would share their information if it meant receiving better customer service and resolving problems faster.

So what type of info were consumers prepared to share to save $$? All of us seem to be willing to share our email, age, location, interests and previous purchases, no matter what age group! Fascinating, right? Clearly consumers like to be targeted when there’s something to be gained.

Another trend that I’m seeing is that millennials in general (my son being a quintessential millennial) are more willing to share data than anyone else. In this particular study, they were slightly more willing, coming in at 49%. Not surprising, GenXer’s came in second, with 44% of them willing to share their data for deals or better service. Baby boomers came in last at 38%. Younger generations are basically born with a device as an extension of their arms, so it makes sense to me that sharing personal information would seem more natural to them.

On the flip side, consumers reacted negatively to unsolicited personalized messages sent with the intention of getting the recipient to share data. So if they didn’t ask for it, then don’t personalize it. That’s the clear message here. It becomes borderline creepy.

If the communication is relevant, consumers embrace the personalization. Why does this matter to me? It is what we do here @AGS! However I digress. The flip side is that off-target or irrelevant messages were a major cause of aggravation for 29% of those surveyed above. Marketers walk a fine line between personalization and frustration – as you never want to annoy potential customers.

Scott Horn, CMO of [24]7 says, “If used correctly, consumer data can play a valuable role in improving the customer experience, but this information should be used wisely to avoid alienating customers.

This is where I think a great loyalty program can help! These valued customers who sign up want to hear from your company, and you already have really good data on them. I talked about how to start a loyalty program in my last blog. With these programs, you have plenty of opportunities to engage with your consumers and send as many personalized communications as you want (don’t get carried away). And, if you are doing it right, you’ll ask customers how often they want to hear from you.

The takeaway here: If you’re going to ask customers to pony up their personal data, be prepared to use it to offer them a better experience to keep them satisfied. And, just as important, ensure that their data is well guarded.

 

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