Facebook is one of the recent and most publicized examples of an online service testing (manipulating?) customer data.
Christian Rudder, founder OKCupid writes in the Wall Street Journal that his service also tested customer data and even manipulated it a bit.
They did inform users, they did share the results and the experiment helped OKCupid to improve its offering.
For small business owners, it’s a MUST to use existing customer data to make your product better. However, it’s also important to ensure you use the data properly. It’s also important to reassure and not anger your customers when you share with them how you’ve used their data.
Christian writes “We announced the test in a post on our blog, and we explained what we found without fully explaining the test’s purpose. The collection and interpretation of consumer data is sensitive and complex. Our lighthearted analysis of an important issue rang sour, and it appeared to many that we were secretly toying with our users’ love lives. That’s an unsettling idea, even if incorrect. While we can apologize for the way we presented our test, the outcry around it broached a larger issue that transcends OkCupid or any one company.”
In a discussion I had with Small Business Summit (Oct 22nd) speaker, Cliff Worley, Chief Digital Officer of Shark Branding (Daymond John’s Company), Cliff shares how he uses Infusionsoft to know what his users want and help create additional offerings for them.
If you are NOT using customer data to improve the user experience – you’re missing out. If you are using customer data make sure you use it wisely.