How Retailers Grade You to Determine Customer Treatment - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
NBC 5 Responds

NBC 5 Responds

Responding to your consumer needs and connecting you to your money

How Retailers Grade You to Determine Customer Treatment

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    How Retailers Grade You to Determine Customer Treatment

    It's a secret score that shadows your almost-every move as a consumer. it's a number that can determine the prices you pay and the perks you receive, yet you, and the majority of consumers, will probably never see it. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019)

     
    From retailers to wireless carriers to airlines 

       
    Some businesses are busy crunching data to give shoppers a secret score called a c-l-v, or customer lifetime value   
    A projection used not only to estimate what a customer may be worth over time --  but in some cases- how well to treat them
        
    A grade experts say is based on things like how much you spend, age, zip code, marital status-- 
       
    Even details on your social media profiles  
    (Sots) “that’s a little big brotherish.”
    “yea that’s not good” 
    So why are businesses doing this?  
    Experts say it’s to hold on to their best customers...
    “when you call in, when you either have a complaint or when you’re seeking some sort of discount or when you’re saying hey my neighbor got this but i didn’t get this, they’re going to know who you are and if they’re really sophisticated about it they’ll know whether you really deserve it or not.” 
    Shoppers with a high score probably make frequent purchases and spend more money...
    They would be more likely to get a call or email answered *fast* or get a refund without much trouble.
    “its going to be purely based on what you’ve done and what we think you’re going to do next”  
       
    In short, marketing professor pete fader says c.L.V. Comes down to your relationship with the retailer. 
    “if we see you engaging with the company more deeply, we have a sense that you’re going to be worth just that much more in the future” 
    Retailers don’t share this information with each other -- your c.L.V. Is different each place you spend money. 
    "so i may have a clv, // one clv with my cell phone company, but have another clv with say my gym or another company that i’ve opened a line of credit with
    Some consumer advocates think customers should be clued into their secret score.
    John breyault bray-yo from the national consumers league says more pressure is needed on regulators for companies to release the grades. 
    “if these scores are being used to make important decisions about me, decisions about what kind of offers i’m going to be given, whether or not i’m going to be accepted as a customer at a bank or a company then i think consumers deserve to know that and i think it’s an area where consumers are demanding more control 
    Tag: 
    [[Lisa]]
    The scores essentially might frame you as a serial returner, chronic complainer or just a plain old cheapskate. If that's not accurate,  privacy experts say, that is why consumers should have a chance to review their secret score. We asked the national retail federation for a comment on this practice. They told us they don't follow the issue. 
     

    From retailers to wireless carriers to airlines, some businesses are busy crunching data to give shoppers a secret score called a "CLV," or Customer Lifetime Value.

    It's a projection used not only to estimate what a customer may be worth over time, but in some cases, how well to treat them.

    It's a grade experts said is based on things like how much you spend, age, ZIP code, marital status, even details on your social media profiles.

    So, why are businesses doing this?

    Experts said it’s to hold on to their best customers.

    “When you call in, when you either have a complaint or when you’re seeking some sort of discount, or when you’re saying, 'Hey my neighbor got this but I didn’t get this,' they’re going to know who you are and, if they’re really sophisticated about it, they’ll know whether you really deserve it or not,” said Marketing Professor Pete Fader.

    Shoppers with a high score probably make frequent purchases and spend more money, they would be more likely to get a call or email answered fast or get a refund without much trouble.

    "Its going to be purely based on what you’ve done and what we think you’re going to do next,” he said.

    In short, Fader said a customer's CLV comes down to the relationship with the retailer.

    “If we see you engaging with the company more deeply, we have a sense that you’re going to be worth just that much more in the future,” Fader explained.

    Retailers don’t share this information with each other. Your CLV is different each place you spend money.

    Some consumer advocates think customers should be clued-in to their secret score.

    John Breyault from the National Consumers League said more pressure is needed on regulators for companies to release the grades.

    "If these scores are being used to make important decisions about me, decisions about what kind of offers I’m going to be given, whether or not I’m going to be accepted as a customer at a bank or a company, then I think consumers deserve to know that and I think it’s an area where consumers are demanding more control," he said. 

    The scores essentially might frame you as a serial returner, chronic complainer or just a plain old cheapskate. If that's not accurate, privacy experts said that is why consumers should have a chance to review their secret score.

    We asked the National Retail Federation for a comment on this practice.  They told us they don't follow the issue.

    If you need help from NBC 5 Responds, tell us your story here using our form.

    Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and download our smartphone app.