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Lessons from Google’s New Privacy Laws

Strategy

I was watching with interest a report on the BBC this morning about the changes Google is about to make to its privacy features.

I’ll admit to a certain amount of ignorance to the detail of the changes, or to the reason for the potential legal ramifications.  But the philosophy of the change strikes a chord with me and casts a light on how we approach customer service.

It seems to me that what Google are proposing is what we in Genesys call a “cross channel conversation”.  If I watch a video on Google’s YouTube service, the nature and theme of that video influences the results I get on Google’s search engine.  Or the topic of an email I send via Google Mail leads to a suggested list of videos that I may be interested in when I open the YouTube app on my Android smart phone.

The world we live in is more and more seamless.  My smart phone automatically syncs to my laptop, which automatically syncs to my Android tablet.  I don’t think about this anymore, it just happens.  Apple’s iCloud service is a great example of linking together devices – a photo taken by iPhone automatically appears on my iPad and my iMac.  Services like DropBox even allow me to sync content with friends.

Admittedly there are demographics to consider – digital natives (people born after 1990) are growing up in this world and think nothing of it.  In fact, my 6 year old son finds it weird when he can’t get a program on his Nintendo Wii that he was able to watch on the living room TV.  Digital immigrants, like myself, are naturally more suspicious of this seemingly always-on, always-connected existence.

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When Genesys was engaged by a major Antipodean bank to help them with their cross channel conversations, we conducted customer research to understand their reaction to the connected experience they received.

The particular use case was for customers who had been on the bank’s website completing an account application, got stuck and felt the need to phone the call centre for help.  We implemented a service where those customers received a “let’s continue with your web application” type message when they had identified themselves on the phone.

When asked what they felt about this “big brother” style personalisation, without exception, the customers responded positively.  It was the bank’s website, the bank’s phone number, the bank’s call centre agents – they expected the bank to use their information.

Genesys is on a mission to save the world from bad #custserv.  One of the key causes of bad #custserv is lack of knowledge or intelligence of the customer when they feel the need to contact customer service.  Customers are increasingly using more and more channels to accomplish tasks.  Genesys is helping organisations to break down those channel barriers, moving customer service from “how many I help you” to “let’s continue.”

I have to side with Google when they propose that linking channels together is good for their users.  But I also sound a note of caution that with this power comes responsibility to use the knowledge appropriately.

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