There is a lot of controversy in the automotive industry regarding which vendors are pulling data (customer or transactional) from a dealer’s DMS and then re-selling it to vendors like TrueCar and others. (I guarantee you that TrueCar is not the only vendor that’s using your data against you, FYI)
[Note: For non-automotive industry readers: DMS stands for Data Management System and is what contains all customer, financial, vehicle and transactional data (ie. all that information on the credit application you filled out when you bought that car). There are dealer vendors (website companies, 3rd party services like TrueCar.com, Edmunds.com, Cars.com, etc.) that are given access to this information for various reasons.]
Consumer privacy laws and red flag compliance keep getting stricter and stricter when it comes to customer personal information and how it needs to be protected. This is all well and good but I’d argue that most consumers don’t care about their personal information. They may say they do but actions speak louder than words.
An industry acquaintance shared a website yesterday that assists people in seeing, and cleaning up, which apps and websites are accessing your various social media accounts. (You can find it at http://mypermissions.org/ )
As I played around with it, there wasn’t much in there that surprised me but I’m also very diligent about which apps I allow to access my information and I periodically monitor them to remove permissions for apps or websites I no longer use. Even though I do that, there were a few in there that I was surprised to see. I guarantee you that a normal consumer has way more apps and websites accessing their personal information than I do – games, iPhone apps, websites with social media log-ins, plug-ins etc. Most require (or ask) to access your personal information to use their service. How convenient is it to use Facebook Connect? It’s super-easy but, every time you do, you are giving yet another website or app permission to access your personal information – essentially trading your information for convenience and/or the ability to utilize that particular website.
As I thought about this collection of different social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, G+, LinkedIn, etc. – it started to feel more and more to me like this was MY OWN PERSONAL DMS.
These accounts – singly and collectively – contain more personal information about me than any other source including the government.
Those social networks are free to use, but are they really? In one sense, they do exactly what your vendors are doing to your dealership’s DMS – selling your personal information for profit. Most consumers know this on some level and have chosen to allow that access in exchange for their information on some level. Sure, there are times when a consumer outcry occurs - say when Facebook changes a privacy setting – but those quickly go away mostly because the consumer modifies the permissions again (ie. who can see your posts or other activity on Facebook).
So consumers do care about protecting their information, posts, etc. from people on an individual level, what they’re not shielding themselves from or thinking about is what companies are getting their personal data (either from the sites themselves or from outside apps and websites that they’ve allowed access) and what those companies are doing with it.
So, while we’re in an uproar about what vendors are getting access to customer data and what they are doing with it, keep in mind that you also have your own personal DMS and, just like you should care who has access to your customer’s information, you should care about who has access to your own.