Whether you’re starting a customer experience (CX) measurement programme or improving an existing one, protecting your customers’ and your employees’ privacy is key. Nearly all CX measurement practices pose at least some privacy risk, whether you personalise surveys, mine call transcripts and recordings, collect audio and video feedback, close the loop with individual customers, or share customer verbatims with employees. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to reduce the privacy risks in customer experience measurement.

To help you think about privacy in the context of a CX measurement programme, I teamed up with my colleague Enza Iannopollo, Forrester’s European lead on privacy research. Here’s what we found:

Two Hazards Of Ignoring Privacy

CX pros must design their measurement programmes with privacy in mind. Otherwise, they’ll face:

  • Regulators’ fines and enforcement actions. Are you worried about those? If not, you should be! Our research found that most companies that violated, for example, the European General Data Protection Regulation, did so because they failed to ask for customer consent or to let their customers know why they were collecting their personal data. But it’s not just regulators you should worry about.
  • Customers’ backlash for flouting their privacy demands. You risk losing customers when you undermine their privacy. Our data shows that customers are not only familiar with their privacy rights: They take active measures to protect their data, and they engage less with companies they don’t trust. For example, 47% of online adults in the UK actively limit the amount of data they share with websites and apps. Forty-nine percent of Italian online adults say that they’re likely to ask companies to delete their personal data, and 36% of German online adults use privacy and security tools to prevent companies from tracking their online/mobile activities.

The Privacy Risk Of CX Measurement Practices

Enza and I developed a matrix that shows the level of privacy risk for 14 CX measurement practices. You can see an excerpt below, and more is shared in our webinar How To Measure Customer Experience Effectively Without Violating Privacy Laws:


cx measurement privacy risks


Based on her research, Enza recommends selecting countermeasures for privacy risks of those practices:

  • For lower-risk activities: These include activities like sending standard, nonpersonalised surveys to customers. To keep risk low, CX pros must leverage clear transparency notices that explain to customers how their personal data will be used.
  • For medium-risk activities: An example of such an activity is asking customers for additional personal information in a survey (e.g., gender) or trying to close the loop with a customer who gave feedback. For medium-risk activities, CX pros must ask their customers for permission to collect and use the data. And they should leverage privacy communications to set the appropriate expectations. This way, a customer will not be surprised when she receives a call to discuss a poor experience!
  • For high-risk activities: Mining text from call transcripts is one example of a high-risk activity. CX pros must do two things: 1) make sure that they ask customers for their consent and 2) explain how the personal data in the transcripts and the insights from the text analysis will be used.
  • For very-high-risk activities: These sensitive activities include collecting behavioral and biometrics data, such as video feedback or speech recordings. For video feedback, CX pros must ensure that they run appropriate risk assessment in advance and put robust security measures in place, such as specific security controls (e.g., encryption) for storing this data and stringent policies for accessing it.

Work With Privacy Experts To Limit Damage

CX pros wanting to manage the risk of measurement practices must join forces with their privacy peers to:

  1. Understand specific privacy risks in connection with their CX measurement programmes.
  2. Design and implement the technical and procedural measures that help reduce risk and meet compliance requirements.
  3. Orchestrate customer journeys that not only satisfy privacy requirements, but also enrich the overall customer experience, promoting engagement, loyalty, and trust.

Join Enza and myself to hear more details in our complimentary webinar, where we discuss the privacy risks of 14 customer experience measurement practices and how to address them. Watch the replay here!