Published on: November 4, 2019by Kevin Coupe
The Boston Globe has a story about a new Wayfair sales strategy that is freaking out some of its customers.
It works this way. The company has a "new customer service team, the Wayfair Insider Program, that monitors shoppers’ online browsing habits and then steps in to offer assistance as a way to close a sale." If you are spending a lot of time looking at at item and appear to be indecisive about buying the items, you get a phone call from a Wayfair Insider, who offers to help close the deal.
Now, according to the Globe, the company says that "calls were not based on real-time browsing and noted that customers get an e-mail from Wayfair offering assistance before anyone places a call … there is a 48-hour lag time between someone browsing on the site and receiving a call, and that shoppers provided their phone number to the company in advance of their being contacted."
But some folks still are creeped out by this, and are telling the Insiders a) not to call again, and b) let their superiors know that this is a little too much.
The line, of course, is different for everyone … which is one of the reasons that companies have to be careful about such efforts.
I got an email over the weekend from an MNB reader who saw my reference to the Quip toothbrush last week, Googled it, and since then keeps seeing sponsored posts for the product online. This is, to be sure, a common technique … not to mention one of the ways in which companies like Google and Facebook make money.
Companies always are going to use data to target potentially receptive customers. Not only are they going to do it, but I have long argued that they should do it … that the collection and then use of actionable data is one of the great differentiators in the current marketplace.
The trick is doing it in a way that doesn't make people feel like their privacy invaded. Or, maybe, doing it in a away that doesn't actually invade people's privacy.
We have an ongoing debate about this in my house. Mrs. Content Guy feels violated by these ads, but I argue that if I am going to see ads, I'd rather see them for products in which I might be interested or might find relevant.
So we draw the line differently in this case.
On the other hand, I am offended when I get robocalls that start out, "Hello, senior!" And the other day, I got in the mail and offer for reduced-cost, high-functioning hearing aids, which really ticked me off.
Mrs. Content Guy, on the other hand, found this to be enormously amusing.
I think that's an Eye-Opener.
- KC's View: