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information, empower citizens to understand how their data is being used, and raise complaints where deemed in breach, it is one thing to have regulation and another to have customers feel that a brand cares for them to the extent that they will not manipulate or abuse them. Digital platforms, those social in nature more especially, in response imply that where free services are meted, then the customer should know that they are the actual product that belong to the service provider. This almost justifies the old age adage that nothing in this world is truly for free? The critical question therefore to adequately manage this situation, is to ask if customer education is in place to ensure customers are aware of the personal data collection and its use. Beyond the fine print in the terms and conditions that customers world over never read, the next question would be - are there mechanics in place to ensure the customer actually knows what they are getting themselves into and the potential risks? Even with these user regulations in place, there are unwritten rules of ethics that govern the world towards treating human beings decently. Disclosure has become the order of the day, with customer data becoming a black market commodity being sold to the highest bidder as currency to wield power... Brands should therefore – in their marketing and Although KYC in its original form was a risk management strategy initiated by the need for businesses to verify cli- ent identity and assess potential risks of ille- gal intentions for due diligence purposes, it has since taken a life of its own and is the go to core factor for under- standing current and potential customers. 22 MAL25/18 ISSUE Recent happenings indicate though, that there is need for brands to actively draw the line between the much touted "KYC" initiatives and being invasive. Customers who have customized mar- keting material thrown at them online by brands, and conversations directed to them that are high- ly personalized, have not only indicated great discomfort, but gone forward to describe these as ‘creepy’. customer experience excellence efforts - seek to play higher up in the scale where there is a gray area and there is a choice to do what is right. The other danger zone in the KYC equation is the practice of stereotyping customers. The more that is known about customers, the more information gathered, the more brands opt to box them into specific classifications. Is gathering customer data and placing in them in predetermined stereotypes a good thing or a bad thing? Is it out of order to collect customer information and make informed generalizations about them based on their demographics including their age, socio economic backgrounds, religions, cultures, geographic locations, ethnicity, race, countries of origin, gender, sexual orientation and professions? Is this drive towards truly knowing and understanding customers helpful or hurtful towards the niche marketing and customer experience cause? Where does knowing our customers start and ‘judging’ them end? Does boxing people types in order to know them and speak to or serve them as best possible, provide an ideal strategy for progress? Do the categorizations actually work for good towards communicating effectively and delivering exceptional service? Are for example: all baby boomers apathetic towards technology and slow as early adopters to new and innovative practices; all centennials impatient, attention deficient and all for quick and instantaneous results; or all challenged persons be it vertically, physically, economically, gender or health related defiant about their situations and unwilling to cede opinion? Are these assumed truths worth following through? Should marketers and customer experience professionals alike rely on these general stereotypes when making customer based decisions? When does one use their knowledge of a given group to positively spur effective marketing and customer experience excellence, while running on the laid out assumptions or go the arduous route of beyond the stereotypes and pre-conceived notions, to consistently strive to see the individual and not the group? This is not to say that marketing and customer experience sectors will not benefit from understanding group dynamics and putting in place strategies towards enhancing their experience of products and services, elevating customer comfort, and improving the speed and efficiency of transactions. Classifying customers has its advantages in the sense that instead of stabbing in the dark whilst trying to develop and implement solutions that would be counter-productive, there is wisdom in taking an in depth look first. These classifications though, would need to be based on sufficient KYC data that provides insights into the sentiment around products and services, preferred communication and outreach channels, and displeasure points. Stalking customers online and tracing their steps to understand them better, does provide comprehension about their behavior and activity, without necessarily getting in touch. Non-personalized studies through digital perusal of social sites, bio info sites, articles, and customer documentation also serve to provide an alternative source