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The Year of the Customer is Finally Here

2017 will be the pivotal year for the relationship between customer and company.

Consumers are telling companies they want a value-added experience – whether they are considering a purchase or just looking for information. Companies are hearing this and asking customers to let them know more about their desires and behaviors.

This is one of the five key points I mentioned in my recent white paper and webinar.

Among my predictions:

  • Trust will define the comfortable “handshake” between customers and companies;
  • Businesses will need to help consumers – in a friendly and trustworthy way – learn what personal information they can be comfortable sharing; and
  • Consumers will welcome progressive user profile building as a less intrusive approach;
  • Privacy laws, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), will have a wide-ranging impact on how companies handle customer data, and ultimately lead to better trust-based relationship with consumers.

Here at Gigya, we have more than 700 businesses relying on us for their customer identity management needs. Big names such as the Fox and Turner media properties, consumer brands like Nestle, Kimberly-Clark and Bristol Myers, and even non-profit organizations like the American Cancer Society. What all these companies have in common is need to connect with consumers.

So to take the points individually:

Customer identity must become a central part of your marketing technology stack if you are going to establish durable relationships between consumers and your brand. A certain large consumer packaged goods (CPG) company overcame the challenge of siloed and inaccessible data by implementing a common registration and authentication platform for all of its products, which spanned about 1,500 websites. Today, that company knows every product a particular consumer buys and can up-sell and cross-sell easily.

The next three predictions merge, because ”progressive profiling” grows from consumer consent, which implies trust. Consumers may come to your website once as anonymous shoppers, but are likely to return because they had a good experience and believe that you know them.

By gradually asking questions that will help you to know customers: age, gender, phone number, income, product preference, family status, you are building a relationship with your customers over time that enhances trust.

Lastly, 2017 is the right time to look at whether your business is prepared to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), set to take effect in May 2018. GDPR includes provisions that give consumers broad rights to privacy and limits the distribution of personal consumer information without obtaining specific user consent.

The GDPR is going to influence every business or stakeholder on the planet that processes personal data belonging to anyone in the European Union. It truly is a game-changing piece of legislation, and you can read more about it here.

Again, you can get more details by checking out my recent white paper and webinar.

By Patrick Salyer

Gigya has updated its Privacy Policy as Gigya, Inc. has been acquired by SAP America, Inc. and Gigya has updated the information regarding how we collect and use your Personal Data. You can see the updated Privacy Policy here.