CX in the age of privacy and trust, Part 2: Is consent destroying your CX?

This is the second in a series of articles on creating, maintaining, and optimizing great customer experiences in the context of mounting concerns about privacy and increasingly strict regulations governing data processing. We address topics such as consent strategies, the role of trust, the elements of trustworthiness, and integrating consent exchanges into CX. In Part 2, we explore how consent notifications are undermining your CX efforts — and what you can do about it. (See also Part 1 and Part 3.)

The winter of our disconsent

We all agree that we live in the customer-centric age. 

We all agree that business success now depends on differentiated experiences more than product features and benefits. (Experiences are the 7th Era of Marketing!) 

And we all agree that great CX has to start with the very first interaction consumers have with your company or brand. 

And yet . . . since last May, what is the very first interaction on most websites and apps serving European residents? 

It\’s these ugly, undifferentiated, and user hostile cookie consent notices.


(P.S. Most of the notices are also illegal under the GDPR, as Google learned while drawing a €50 million fine.)

It\’s like: Welcome to our luxurious tropical resort — this is your painstakingly executed CX — which has been carefully engineered to anticipate and meet your every need and desire.


But first, please hug the minister of tourism.


It\’s not just that these consent notices stand apart from the customer experience. It\’s that they make that crucial first interaction a source of irritation and suspicion — and thus actively undermine all of the hard work you\’ve invested in CX.

Closer to home, it only gets worse when the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) takes effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA requires a \”clear and conspicuous link\” on every homepage that says — literally and without variation — DO NOT SELL MY PERSONAL INFORMATION. (And \”selling\” actually means sharing in any way.) It\’s going to be very, very, very tempting for each and every consumer to reflexively hit that link. 

That\’s the consent and CX Catch-22: You need personal data to power the experiences consumers demand and reward, but you have to get their permission to collect and use it — usually before you\’ve delivered a compelling experience. So how do you maximize that access? How do you keep Californians from opting-out and Europeans from turning down your consent request?

As Robert has explained, one great answer is to consistently deliver valuable content to subscribed audiences, which results in \”trust credits\” that you can deploy when asking for data. (See \”GDPR: The Biggest Gift to Content Marketers in a Decade.\”) 

But from a CX perspective, the surprisingly overlooked tactic is to stop making the consent request or opt-out page a hostile, CX-free barrier that consumers have to cross in order to arrive at your delightful, carefully designed experiences. In short, you as marketers and CX pros should be leading the charge on consent — in collaboration with the legal review, of course. You can deploy you established skills and practices — thinks like user research and segmentation, creation of \”consent personas,\” and the crafting of compelling value propositions. If you want to knock around some ideas about how to get started, let\’s talk

The request for permission (consent or non-opt-out) is not just your first interaction with many consumers. Done poorly, it may also be your last chance to access the personal data you need in order to attract and retain interest.

Or, as the CX guru Slim Shady once said . . .


If you had one shot, or one opportunity

To seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment

Would you capture it, or just let it slip?

In Part 3, we look at how — if at all — you can (re)build trust with consumers.

Do you need help on this topic

Schedule a free consult to discuss your needs.

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