Three Ways to Protect Customer Privacy While Leveraging Big Data

    In this day and age, it is growing increasingly difficult to have an interaction with a brand or product that isn’t in some way driven by data. Big Data drives the advertisements we see, the cabs we hail, and even the prices of flights we take.

    The dependence on Big Data to drive marketing and decision making stems from the growing customer demands for personalization. Customers desire unique, responsive buying and service experiences, but also have a nagging voice in the back of their head --

    Is all of this customer data safe? Is it being used responsibly? How much data is too much data?”           

    Businesses that fail to leverage customer data at every interaction will inevitably fall behind – yet, those that leverage it without respecting and valuing customer privacy will go extinct entirely.       

    So how does an organization effectively leverage Big Data while protecting customer privacy? Below are three strategies every business would be wise to adopt in pursuit of that delicate balancing act.

    1.  Focus on Your Locus of Control

    There are many factors beyond your control that can influence customer perception of your brand. Don’t let fraud and data breaches due to poor security be one of them. Before you begin working with customer data, have a clear blueprint for how you intend to handle and store the data in a compliant, secure and ethical manner. In addition, instruct employees on phishing and social engineering tactics. Wise companies will also pay attention to often overlooked but even more often exploited channels such as the phone systems, and invest in technologies that protect the phone channel from being spoofed, hacked or otherwise attacked. A thorough information security audit is a must for engaging with customer data.

    2.  Serve, Don’t Exploit

    The data that you are acquiring and leveraging must serve only one purpose: to deliver on a better experience for the customer. Your relationship with your customer is based on mutual trust and respect. Using the personal information with which a customer has entrusted you in ways that go beyond the original intent is a violation of that trust, and will ultimately undo whatever gains you have made through intelligently leveraging customer data. Your operating mindset must be like that of Disney World – your use of data should make customers feel welcomed and valued, versus feeling like a sale is being thrust upon them. By keeping the use of the data behind the curtain, businesses are able to curate exceptional customer service and buying experiences for the customer without the anxiety regarding use of personal data.

    3.  Nothing Beats Opt-In

    The ambient data that you can obtain from marketing lists, real-time telephony services or a host of other sources is great, but never underestimate the power of data you can obtain directly from the customer. Customer feedback is truly the gold standard in the world of customer experience, and wise businesses will leverage every opportunity to solicit this feedback and data to drive business growth and even greater customer experiences. Satisfied customers will share with you more information about themselves and their context that will arm you with the information you need to deliver even better. The ambient data that you can collect from services like Next Caller helps to craft a streamlined experience that opens the door for truly deep, authentic conversations with customers that can help you get the information you really desire.

    Get to know your callers better with Next Caller, the world’s largest Caller ID database. To learn more about Next Caller’s partnership with ShoreTel and how you can leverage Next Caller with ShoreTel Summit, see our press release.

    Next Caller is a leading provider of Advanced Consumer Data and Fraud Detection. The SaaS and cloud-based platform increases sales conversions, marketing opportunity, and agent efficiency by delivering rich customer data to businesses in real time. The company maintains the market's largest database linking telephone number to name, address, email, income, social profiles, and more, with access to over 500M profiles.

    Tim Prugar is the Director of Customer Success at Next Caller, specializing in Call Center efficiency and Fraud Prevention. Tim is a frequent contributor to the International Customer Management Institute, and is a member of the Consumer Education Committee of the Communications Fraud Control Association. He lives in Connecticut.

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