Consent Data: The Key to Unlocking Valuable Customer Insights Consent Data: The Key to Unlocking Valuable Customer Insights

Vision Critical

The customer insights platform 
for customer-centric companies

Get a Demo

Quick Links

Download Guide as PDF
Quick Links :

To limit the impact of growing consumer mistrust and increasingly complex data privacy legislations such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), companies must provide well-designed, iterative consent experiences. The customer experiences must clearly explain what data is being collected, why it is being collected, and who it will be shared with not only at the time of collection, but on a consistent basis thereafter. The goal should be to encourage ongoing engagement over time, taking into account the evolving outlook of the individual. The ability to demonstrate the value of engagement and share back the result of that engagement will be a key differentiator for brands that manage the customer insights process effectively.

Transparency was once a soft attribute tethered to a company’s value statement but is now a legislated mandate that must be demonstrated, documented, and communicated with clarity. Even when efforts to be transparent are legally compliant, the court of public opinion routinely determines those efforts are not sufficient. 

For years, first-party data collection tactics relied on burying or omitting relevant information. Not only are these methodologies no longer acceptable, in many cases they are no longer legal. First-party data is no longer free for the taking. Securing actionable, agile customer insights requires consent. That consent is a critical building block of trust and requires a structured, strategic approach to increasing transparency when capturing the voice of the customer.

As the global leader in the collection and application of consent data, Vision Critical will guide your journey to becoming a customer-centric organization with declared data collection and application that builds deeper relationships with your customers while maintaining data security and privacy.

What Is Consent Data?

Consent data is personal information obtained directly from a customer where both parties are fully aware of the use and benefits of that data. 

“Declared data” or “zero-party data" can only be considered “consent data” through ongoing engagement and an iterative approval process between a consumer and a brand. It can include preference center data, purchase intentions, personal context, and how they want to be seen.

Customers will only share zero-party data with companies they trust, making this type of data a highly valued and very precious commodity for brands. Brands utilizing declared data to improve customer experiences, product innovation, marketing effectiveness, or employee engagement must have ongoing, repetitive consent from their customers.

What Makes Consent Data Unique?

When declared data is iteratively collected and thoughtfully applied, you improve customer acquisition and retention rates while increasing the satisfaction of your customers. Additionally, you can significantly reduce product development timelines while accelerating sales of tested products.

How Do You Get Consent Data?

This type of data is earned through ongoing conversations that balance personalization and privacy. To access these customer insights, data collection must be continual and use a sustainable model of accumulation. Using a verified and systematic process, you are able to harness more specific insights and a deeper and more thoughtful understanding of your consumer.

How Do You Maintain Consent?

Consent is not a one-time thing. Companies earn consent by giving value first, and then creating more value through improved products, services, and experiences. Consent must be maintained through a perpetual cycle of giving and receiving for the customer insights to be meaningful for you and your customers.

Why Is Consent Vital to Business Success?

Consent or zero-party data is given when a customer has trust in a company. That trust is established with openness and transparency at all phases throughout the customer journey. Trust must be the highest significance in your company and as such, it facilitates the exchange of value between customers and companies. Companies must protect the trust they have earned by iteratively collecting and thoughtfully applying customer insights.

To protect that trust, companies must make strategic investments to address data concerns such as bias, availability, security, and privacy, but also build a reputation for transparency, reliability, and fairness. It must be operationalized across the business within its systems, technology, and processes. The ability to continually and repeatedly meet and exceed customer expectations around data collection, use, and sharing of their consent data is key to business success.

Effective Ways to Turn Data Privacy Challenges into Opportunities

What Does Consent Data Mean for Your Business?

From transactional, demographic, and behavioral data stored in the system of record to the results of ad-hoc surveys, focus groups, social media, and even third-party reports, CEOs have access to an almost unlimited supply of information. But disparate data sources of varying quality and reliability make it very difficult to create and share a unified customer view; the foundation of a customer-centric strategy. The bulk of customer data is collected by technological convenience at multiple touchpoints. It’s siloed and unavailable across teams and companies. Furthermore, it’s not strategic and it can be difficult to apply. Customer insights surfaced from these sources often emerge slowly and not without considerable effort and expense—only exacerbating the information gap.

As consumers have become keener to how their data is collected and used, they are beginning to take control of their data. Traditional methods of collecting consent—such as lengthy terms and conditions pages written in difficult to decipher legal jargon—no longer hold up to the new, high standards of consumers or by growing scrutiny through legislation. Companies that aren’t transparent with what they are collecting and how they’re using a customer’s data will have to face the court of public opinion, which can be costly to even the biggest of brands.

This presents an area of great opportunity for organizations to strengthen their relationships with customers. Your customers are telling you what they want and what they are willing to give in exchange. Organizations need data to produce valuable insights that drive innovation, a better customer experience, and ultimately expand sales. In the current age of growing consumer mistrust and highly complex legislation, consumers are beginning to understand that their data has tremendous value and as such, consumers will only exchange their data for something that is of personal value.

Facilitating this exchange of declared data for value is consumer trust. Customers will openly give data to the brands they implicitly trust especially when there is an exchange of benefit. When you listen to your customers and continually and repeatedly show them you’re using their feedback to produce actionable insights that directly impact their experience with your brand, you drive product innovation.  

How Do Data Privacy & GDPR Compliance Push Legislation towards Transparency?

With endless concerns and strict new regulations surrounding data security and data privacy like GDPR, companies are faced with a dilemma around customer experience personalization. Companies must ask themselves how they can be truly customer centric, driving business based on customers’ needs all the while respecting privacy and being compliant. While customers are used to the idea that their data is collected and used to enhance their experiences, they expect, and deserve, that a transparent process is used to obtain data. Determining the customer’s tolerance to data collection methodologies is difficult to manage. At times, data collection can feel more like spying than gleaning insights to understand the voice of the customer.

The simplest and most forthright way to obtain consent data is to ask customers directly. By seeking to understand what the customer actually needs and wants, a company shifts the efforts from a hard-sell pitch to developing a mutually beneficial, long-term relationship. The reciprocity rebalances the equation and forces a company to provide more value to customers in exchange for consent data. In the short term, a company may “give away” more than it receives but with the trust that transparency builds, companies will reap the benefits of their patience.

In addition to building trust, consumers deserve to be in control of what data is collected, understand why it’s being gathered, and how it’s being shared. Newly and soon-to-be enacted privacy legislation intends to extend data protection rights to individuals by giving them control of their data. GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) were established with the intent of giving consumers control of their data after years of questionable company behavior. The impact of privacy legislation has been significant and is already notably improving the overall customer experience.

The challenge of data privacy is utilizing personal data while respecting the individual's right to privacy and managing changing privacy preferences. Unfortunately, most businesses mistakenly view data privacy is a constraint. Many businesses choose to enforce the minimum requirements to stay in compliance so as not to lose their market position or risk facing high fines. While the intent of GDPR is to protect the people, companies may fall back on it to leverage consent data. To effectively mitigate the potential for consumer distrust, it’s imperative to encourage open and honest communication. When companies establish a candid dialogue, the lines between “knowing” and “spying” become less blurry.

By approaching data collection as an opportunity to establish a relationship with a customer, concerns about compliance and issues of command and control are reduced or removed altogether. Communication eases the constraints of data privacy legislation and opens up new opportunities for companies to both drive revenue and transform relationships with their customers.


Transparency in the Age of Consent

How Can Forward-Thinking Insight Professionals Succeed in a Consent Data Economy?

Forward-thinking businesses must move beyond the mandatory legislated minimums like GDPR and use iterative consent and establish security and privacy measures to build strong relationships and improve engagement. Insight professionals must see the value not only in the data, but also the value in trust and transparency.

To succeed in a consent data-driven economy, C-level executives must partner with teams at all levels to build a culture of transparency that employees across the enterprise value and understand, that are reflected in every customer engagement. They must work harmoniously with marketing to clearly articulate how the commitment to transparency has been formalized and the unique value it provides. In developing and supporting well-designed, iterative consent experiences that clearly explain what data is being collected and why, insight professionals encourage the communication that is vital to the success of the customer experience.

By demonstrating the value of ongoing engagement and directly sharing back the results of that engagement, insight professionals set themselves apart from their competitors, giving them an advantage in the marketplace. Consistently and proactively responding to customer data requests ensures that the customer journey is seamless. Moreover, successful insight professionals must take ownership of mistakes and work with customers to positively rectify any issues in a timely manner.

How Can Consent Data for Marketers Bridge the Gap between Personalization and Privacy?

Recent legislation like GDPR, has given customers greater control of their data. The substantial impact of this type of legislation on businesses will lead to lasting improvements in the way customer data is collected, protected, and used. This, coupled with the proliferation of privacy enhancing technologies readily available to individuals, means that consent will play an increasingly important role in effective attribution models and digital marketing. If individuals take control and choose to remain anonymous, conversion metrics become skewed, cross-device conversations can’t be measured, and personalization efforts are hamstrung. Social-savvy customers can heavily impede a brand’s ability to remedy trust issues.  

This means that companies must endeavor to pursue honest and transparent ways to personalize the customer experience. Digital marketing teams must shift to personalizing marketing offers, tactics, and delivering a message to market that resonates with their customers. When companies open a meaningful two-way dialogue that evolves almost organically over time, trust is established, and customers will ultimately give their consent to utilize data. These conversations shouldn’t just report back on which data is being used but should also open up a discourse with customers about what that data could and should be used for and ultimately show how a customer will benefit from the data exchange.

What Is the Open Data Initiative?

Data has an immense value in gathering powerful insights that drive innovation, growth, and customer experience transformation. But what happens when that data isn’t available to all the teams in an organization? When data is siloed, or “stored” and locked, unavailable to other companies, divisions and teams, those insights lose their power. Without a single hub for data, attempts at deriving actionable insights suffer. Restricting the data sharing within a company leads to duplication of efforts, stagnant growth, inefficiency, and an overall decreased customer experience.

Three top technology companies joined together to stand behind the Open Data Initiative (ODI), a program that breaks down the walls that house data and allows data to be exchanged externally while encouraging data exchange internally. Facilitating a single view of the customer, ODI helps companies to govern their data while supporting strong privacy and security initiatives. The underlying theme of ODI is that as the consent data is exchanged across different systems, it becomes a renewable resource delivering a vastly improved customer experience built on trust and transparency.

Vision Critical supports ODI as a way to create new value at all stages throughout the customer journey. By not only unlocking the data, companies can move the data bi-directionally to accommodate the exchange of data and further perpetuate the open lines of communication.

Consent Data in Action

VMware, a leader in cloud infrastructure and digital workspace technology, accelerates digital transformation for IT companies. Over 500,000 customers use VMware’s cloud and business mobility software around the world. The company’s award-winning software provides a powerful foundation for the apps, services, and experiences transforming the world today. VMware uses consent data to engage its enterprise cloud computing customers. By following established principles of customer advocacy, VMware is seeing improved product innovation, customer satisfaction, and loyalty.

Established over 20 years ago, as VMware’s products expanded, the company recognized the need to identify customer issues before they happened. Scott Bajtos, Chief Customer Officer, was clear and candid in his directive as he sought pathways to improve the customer journey: VMware must deliver an “unrivaled” end-to-end customer experience.

In order to rise to this challenge, the team needed to reach a traditionally difficult and expensive group to engageIT decision makers in enterprise companies. Historically, this group takes months to establish and even longer to finesse to the point of gleaming actionable insights. VMware needed to a proactive solution that would keep the pace at which the company was used to operating. VMware looked to its Inner Circle member hub, an online community of customers and partners that facilitates rapid-cycle research efforts. The Inner Circle was engaged in a constant feedback loop that builds the foundation for a partnership.

VMware teams engaged the community to answer strategic questions and improve product functionality, quality, ease of doing business, and more. The Inner Circle was critical in the development of Skyline, a support system that uses data telemetry. VMware invited select Inner Circle members to be early adopters, incorporating their feedback in real time from product development through implementation and ongoing innovation.

Through Inner Circle, VMware demonstrates that they are true customer advocates. This is an approach that transcends traditional customer engagement and market research and enhances the customer journey at all stages.

Why Does Consent Data Matter to Your Business?

Your customers have wisdom that is worth listening to. Fostering a transparent relationship with your customers is what drives us and what should drive you to develop a comprehensive plan to iteratively collect, analyze, and apply declared data insights. Through ongoing engagement and collaboration, you can turn consent data from facts and figures into tangible, actionable insights that are beneficial to both you and your customers.

Ready to start collecting and applying valuable customer consent data?

We'll show you how to uncover agile, actionable, earned consent data with Sparq, the customer insights platform.
Get a Demo