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CX Tech

When Does CX Personalization Become Creepy?

SmarterCX Team
October 27, 2017

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Personalization through data is a hot trend in CX technology. Yet, if taken too far, CX personalization can come across as creepy.

The SmarterCX.com team recently interviewed New Yorkers in and around Grand Central Terminal and asked a number of questions regarding customer experience, including: When does CX personalization become creepy?

The video below showcases a range of answers and reactions to personalization. Some expressed aversion to interacting with a brand that gets too personal, while others felt they’d never been creeped-out by personalization.


In its 2017 Predictions, Forrester predicts that “CEOs will exit at least 30% of their CMOs for not mustering the blended skill set needed to drive digital business transformation, design exceptional personalized experiences, and propel growth.” So how can CX professionals strike a balance and provide a personalized experience without crossing the line into creepy?

Bob Meixner, Senior Product Strategist for Oracle Commerce Cloud offers three ways to get personal without getting creepy.

1. Remember the personal in personalization. Treat online interactions like in-person interactions as much as you can. Start with being open and upfront about the types of data you may be collecting and how you will use it. Put it in terms of how the customer will benefit.

In many cases, consumers are willing to share information if they know it will improve their experience, status, or visibility with the brand. As with personal relationships, being open, honest, and direct puts you in good standing.

2. Take the cocktail party approach. A little acknowledgement can go a long way in forging personal relationships, and the same applies when bringing consumers closer to your brand. If they are on your site, perhaps you think they are a smart consumer with good taste. Call that out by sprinkling in appropriate messaging in key call to action areas.

3. Focus on general themes versus granular specifics. Asking a few relevant questions is a quick way to begin understanding consumer preferences and guide them to products and services to meet their needs. Again, if consumers know they will benefit from providing the information, they will be more likely to open up. Make sure they can see the impact of their inputs immediately in their customer experience.

Take things to next level by using AI to combine with third party data sources to get a more complete picture. To avoid the creepy factor, focus on general themes and patterns of your audiences versus granular specifics.

SmarterCX Team
The SmarterCX team is comprised of subject matter experts, writers, artists, designers, and CX professionals who are dedicated to building a smarter customer experience.
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