Thales Blog

What is progressive profiling and how can it benefit your business?

July 4, 2023

Wouter de Wit Wouter de Wit | Senior Product Manager, Thales More About This Author >

As the data trust gap between customers and businesses continue to grow, and as third-party cookies become redundant, there is an urgency to adopt a modernized approach to customer data collection. The good news is, there is another way. Enter progressive profiling.

Regardless of the business you run, whether it’s in retail, insurance, or healthcare, you’re likely to rely on user data to deliver the personalised experiences that individuals demand. In fact, Gartner has shown that 71% of B2C and 86% of B2B customers expect companies to be well-informed about their personal information during an interaction. And yet, businesses should be wary of adding intrusive data-collection forms into the customer journey. Progressive profiling introduces a fresher and far more proactive take on data collection.

What is progressive profiling?

In short, progressive profiling is an approach to data collection where customer data is gradually collected with relevance, transparency, and compliance at the forefront. It involves businesses asking individuals for small bits of information throughout the user journey, allowing detailed user profiles to be created in a compliant and non-invasive way.

5 ways progressive profiling can benefit your business

Because of the way progressive profiling gathers information incrementally, it can greatly improve the user experience when compared with other methods of customer data collection. Progressive profiling can support your customer strategies in a number of ways, allowing you to:

1. Capture customer insights and build high-quality profiles in a compliant manner

Regulations like the EU’s GDPR rules stipulate how businesses can collect, store, and manage user data. Using progressive profiling, businesses can give users the option of adding personal information under their account settings. While this may not provide much visibility, it is frictionless and guarantees user consent for data collection. Capturing customer insights in this way provides always-on compliance and enables companies to build rich, unique customer profiles.

2. Increase sign-ups and registration

With progressive profiling, you can streamline and simplify the entire registration process. Forgo field-heavy sign-up forms that could see customers opt out of your page – and move on to your competitor. With progressive profiling, you only ask for necessary information needed to perform a particular action. Not only does this approach encourage sign ups, but it can significantly reduce your page bounce rates as well.

3. Increase customer engagement

Progressive profiling can help organisations to engage with customers at any stage of the journey by triggering user-centric and non-invasive data-capturing processes in near real-time. A survey or quiz, for instance, can be a fun way of collecting additional user information in an engaging yet compliant way. This technique allows you to collect incremental customer data at the right time within the customer journey.

4. Serve customers in a better way

A significant benefit of progressive profiling is how it enables you to drive personalisation and better serve customers. Make it clear to customers what their data will be used for and how they stand to benefit - the user journey is improved by a two-way dialogue. This can enhance service metrics like your Net Promoter Score (NPS) and other customer satisfaction-related measurements.

5. Establish and build trust through transparent consent processes

When it comes to capturing customer data, there is a big trust gap between customers and businesses. This is no surprise. Companies have been collecting customer data, passively and vaguely, for far too long. Progressive profiling, on the other hand, activates the customer consent process. It allows customers to add, change or remove consent at key moments of the customer journey, essentially giving customers better control of their own data.

Use customer data the right way

KuppingerCole lists progressive profiling as one of the key features of CIAM solutions - standing “at the intersection of identity and marketing.” At this intersection, businesses must navigate a difficult balancing act that ensures they acquire enough data to offer personalised products and services, without increasing customer friction by issuing them with long forms to fill in. Progressive profiling offers a way to achieve this balancing act, enabling firms to build high-quality customer profiles incrementally - in a transparent, compliant, and engaging way.

Want to learn more about progressive profiling? Make sure this value-driven concept in action.

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