Use the data you collect from customers to help customers

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

Case Studies  |  New Rules of Sales & Service  |  Marketing  |  Fanocracy

InsuranceI was poking around a clothing company site this morning, checking out a few cool looking items, but I didn’t buy anything. Soon after, I received an email “Exclusive 10% off for you” with an image of one of the products I looked at and a coupon to get that item at a special discount. Retargeting once felt creepy, but now we’re used to the companies we do business with knowing a ton about us and using that information to market to us.

But what about the opposite? I hate when companies don’t use the information they have on me!

For example, last week I received an email from my insurance company. The subject line was “Your Bill Is Ready for Payment”.  Here’s what it said:

Your current bill for your [insurance company name] insurance premium is available and ready for payment online at [insurance company name].com/paymybill.  If you are currently enrolled in our automatic payment plan, there is no need to take any further action.

Please note:  If a Notice of Cancellation has previously been issued, the payment outstanding shown on that notice must be received by the due date specified on the notice, not by the date shown below, for the policy to remain in effect.

There was more, but they had already lost me.

When Companies DON’T Make Use of Our Personal Data

Why the heck doesn’t this silly insurance company link the system that sends billing notices like the one I received with the system that knows if I have automatic billing? And why doesn’t the email system know if a Notice of Cancellation is in effect for my account?

Collecting a ton of personal information from customers means we marketers and salespeople can better target people with our offers. But when we fail to use that same data to make our customers’ lives better, we’re alienating the customers we already have.

This approach is not going to win fans.

After all, great customer service is fabulous marketing. Poor customer service is an invitation for people to look elsewhere.