"When the UK market research company CCB FastMap asked consumers
which method they most wanted companies to use when communicating with
them – e-mail, phone, letter and so on – 63 per cent ticked the box
that said “Not at all”.
Even where consumers have an existing
relationship with a company, 23 per cent prefer not to have marketing
communications from it. The rate rises above 50 per cent for some large
utilities and banks.
Consumers are also increasingly unwilling to
divulge data. The same research found that 86 per cent of consumers
routinely tick the third party opt-out box when providing personal
information. “People have become less happy about revealing information
and especially allowing third parties to share it,” says David Cole,
managing director of CCB FastMap.
This was not what customer
relationship management was supposed to deliver when it was first
touted in the early 1990s. The more data companies could gather about
their customers, it was argued, the deeper the insights they would
generate. This would lead to longer, more profitable relationships.
many companies have found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard
place. On the one hand, most organisations’ transactions with their
customers are too limited for them to get an accurate picture of their
motivations and any data they gather quickly goes out of date. On the
other hand, subsequent attempts to fill these holes by gathering more
data simply intensify concerns over intrusion.
project in vendor relationship management at Harvard University Law
School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society has suggested a way
through the impasse. The core idea of vendor relationship management
(VRM) is simple: the more empowered individuals are when it comes to
managing and using personal data – including the ability to manage
their relationships with vendors – the greater the benefits to both