How to Be a Customer-Friendly Data Company

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While the Trump Administration is definitely changing the normal political conventions, it's usually true that a Republican-led government is business-friendly. And often times business-friendly policies can have a negative impact on customer privacy.

But even if upcoming policies enable businesses to take more liberties with customers, it doesn't mean they have to do so. So, in anticipation, here are some consumer-friendly practices businesses should consider.  

As traditional display advertising wanes, the temptation of data is driving more businesses.

Clear Service Terms

For too long, companies have mendaciously argued that readers don't care about the terms and services, of that they don't read them. This creates a Catch 22 where they are written as if no layperson would read them.

Pay in Dollars Instead of Paying in Data

With data-collection and processing improving by the day, it's safe to assume that data collection is surpassing advertising . This approach has an analog in products like YouTube Red, where you can pay the service money to not have to see any ads. In this scenario, you will instead pay to protect your data.

Users Get Paid

In a world where free services are plentiful, the next competitive advantage could be paying customers to actively use the service. Sound crazy? Well, imagine that in order to use Service A, you agree to minimal data harvesting. But if you are willing to give up more, you could get paid a nominal fee that can increase based on tiers. This can manifest itself in a number of ways, including surveys, brand trials, and other ways.

Go the Distance

There is a lot of confusion about why companies need (or want) your data and what they do with it. Save for terms and conditions and the occasional interview (when something goes wrong), companies do not spend a lot of time dwelling on the whys and hows. This is, likely, because they'd rather people not think about this. But treating it as an unsavory act just exacerbates the problem. It seems unsavory when you don't talk about things openly. Imagine in Mark Zuckerberg went around to Facebook user town halls to explain the company's data policy instead of his half-baked “listening tour” to set up some far-future political career.

Set Up a Marketplace

One reason consumers are distrustful of companies' data policies is that they can't really know where their personal data is going or how it's being bundled. One way around this is to ask customers to opt-in to specific uses of their data. For example, they could enable Brands A - Z to receive their anonymous data, but not Brands AA - ZZ.

No data conversation is easy, but any conversation is better than none, as consumers continue to fret about what they are giving away for free.

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