Better data, fewer customers

Here’s an amusing business tactic: lock out the customers. You know the drill. You visit the website, log-in, and the vendor inserts an extra page forcing you to provide your missing zip code, or what ever. “Our data quality is more important than your time.”

So this company, a health club, locked their patrons out of the club. If they went to the desk they were told that their account was missing their email address.

It’s always good to keep things neat and tidy, but it’s impossible to get across how much this kind of thing drives customers away. Particularly because it drives off the most lightly connected customers. The ones that are hardest to model. The ones you desperately need going forward. There is probably some deep design principle here. You need to design the system to maximize the amount of chaos in your data. Homogeneity is a false God.

Meanwhile, if you enjoy keeping account data tidy you might want to drop by the Useless Account web site. Sign up! Edit your account profile to your hearts content.

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