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Riaz Raihan is President Alida.

Cookies have long been a ubiquitous part of the online world. But change came quickly. We’ve seen regulations introduced around the world, including the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and Privacy Directive, Canada’s Data Privacy Act, and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Tighter regulation is inevitable. The likely end point is that the cookie will disappear completely. That means tech companies now need to stay one step ahead by finding new and better ways to gather customer feedback.

Zero Square Data (ZPD)

The best way forward involves an approach called ZPD. As Forrester defines it, ZPD is “data that customers intentionally and actively share with brands.” That could include “preference center data, purchase intent, personal context,” and the direction of how an individual would like to be recognized by a brand, Forrester noted.

For example, think about products typically sold to pregnant women. The seller may ask when the baby is due. Parents-to-be can then choose. They can decide to share the date or not. If they share it, companies can use that information to determine when their products are most likely to be purchased. For many baby products, parents tend to buy a few days before birth or a few days after birth. With this date, sellers can contact parents at the right time.

Personal without being creepy

It is important for customers to share their personal information with the company knowingly and willingly. Otherwise, the consequences could be catastrophic. Consider what happened after a company sent a teen a baby product coupon without her knowledge. Her father saw the coupon in the mail and told him she was pregnant. This caused a lot of upheaval for the girl and her family.

This represents the classic case of what we aptly call “creepy”. The company obtained basic data about her pregnancy, mistakenly believed that A equaled B and created confusion. ZPD is designed to prevent such problems. Personal information can only be collected and used if it is provided with the explicit and consent of the consumer.

About 80% of customers say they are more likely to buy from a brand when a personalized experience is offered. Report From Epsilon.But at the same time, poorly executed personalization can cause 38% of customers to leave a brand, based on polls Provided by Gartner. Therefore, companies must find a balanced approach, which is a double-edged sword.

higher order than consent

It is critical to understand that ZPD is more than consent. Think about when you load new software onto your phone. Your first step is usually to read and sign one or more agreements. But most people don’t even read them. They just press “OK” quickly because they want to go to the next screen and start using the software. In fact, even if they didn’t read any of the terms of the agreement, they unknowingly agreed to the software maker to track all their activities.

So you can see consent as a very low threshold to clear. This is the bare minimum. In contrast, ZPD meets a higher standard. Agreeing is just the beginning. The ZPD requires a full understanding of the company’s intent and requires consumers to take a proactive approach to sharing personal information. They know exactly what they are sharing, why they are sharing it and what it will be used for.

Strong investment in customer experience

Regulation of cookies will only accelerate. We’re probably heading towards “cookiepocalypse” as they disappear from web browsers entirely. Customers are now demanding a better customer experience. They want the company to ask them what they want, not take it without their permission. Most importantly, they want to know that their insights are actually being put into action.

So companies must be prepared to collect customer feedback in a way that ZPD shapes, and cookies become irrelevant. One way is to invest wisely in modern customer experience (CX) tools. With its ample speed, depth, and tons of new features, ZPD’s approach to CX is an effective way to stay ahead of the cookie’s imminent demise.

Companies can also enable their store associates to build relationships with in-store customers and get information directly from them. Another option is to have the organization’s call center agents collect voluntary data from customers during incoming calls.

Trust grows stronger as a two-way relationship with a customer is established. This will lead to customers becoming more willing and enthusiastic to continue providing the data they need to build better experiences. You can only learn so much from the behavioral insights that cookies generate. Without ZPD and the innovative approach that complements it, companies are sure to miss the real motivation behind customer behavior.


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