Lead data privacy isn’t a new topic.
It should be a top-of-mind concern though — as we continue to willingly feed the internet with more contact information than ever before.
Artificial intelligence (AI) search engines, live chat, various apps and software, and pop-ups galore have gotten us numb to (and even comfortable with) offering up personal information in exchange for digital rewards — whether that’s free gifts, quality content, or even just answers to simple questions.
It’s important to consider the privacy policies that software providers have in place before use.
Data can be gathered in a variety of ways. It can be intentionally surrendered by users when they complete an online form, or even a physical form and later uploaded to the web. It can come from a user signing up for a service and adding personal details (consider all the Facebook Groups you belong to). And it can also exist in the form of technical data such as IP address and location, which can be recognized by back-end software and websites.
In today’s digital era, privacy breaches can have serious repercussions for small and big brands alike. In 2022, CashApp saw a former employee steal eight million users' personal information including social security numbers and banking info.
Privacy isn’t limited to financial data, though. It can be much more straightforward, with your personal information simply appearing places you don’t want it to be (and without you knowing). This could happen with live chat lead data, too — a result of data sharing and lack of consent.
Ngage is a live chat software used by various business types — though they mainly focus on legal. Their software is managed by operators who supposedly provide a customized experience to help turn web visitors into clients. They point out that their message exchanges are “discrete” while helping create relationships for clients — all highlighted as “low-cost” web conversions.
Conrad Saam, founder and president at Mockingbird Marketing — an agency dedicated to helping law firms and solo attorneys develop leads through SEO, PPC, and branding — recently uncovered some concerning intel about Ngage’s latest software update.
Through shared client experiences and his own testing, he identified that Ngage is potentially selling lead data captured through its software to client competitors. In his article, Saam demonstrates how he saw an Ngage live chat trigger an email reply that suggested the prospect consider doing business with out-of-market competitors instead.
The automation, he stated, is related to a new Ngage feature called “Consumer Assistance” that opted clients into a service that tries to use machine learning to decipher good leads from bad, and supply end-users with “better” options.
Saam’s frustrations fall on the feature being turned on without consent, inaccuracies around its ability to identify qualified and unqualified leads, and of course, the email referring that person to another business — all without the knowledge of the original lead owner (Ngage’s own client!).
It’s shady practice by Ngage, based on lack of transparency in where leads are being stored and sent, and what actions are being taken with that data. It promotes major distrust among those who use the tool — namely, customers — while offering a poor user experience at the same time.
The goal of any live chat software is to help capture and engage quality leads while reducing the overall workload involved in managing them.
Smith.ai uses live, sales-trained virtual receptionists to handle chats 24/7/365 on behalf of our clients. We’re backed by AI technology that helps us respond more quickly and efficiently and improve the overall customer experience.
On top of that, we never share or sell that personal and identifiable contact information with any third-party data sources, providers, or re-sellers. Nor do we pass leads generated through our system to our clients’ competitors!
Compared to Smith.ai, Ngage doesn’t have a money-back guarantee, has a much higher base price, is not powered by AI technology, and doesn’t have real-time language translation.
Ngage also doesn’t have the same privacy and lead data protection in place on behalf of clients.
At Smith.ai, it’s a priority to keep lead data safe and protect the privacy of our customers — and their customers.
Here are a few measures we have in place:
In a world filled with new and changing software — from ChatGPT to Smith.ai — it’s essential to know what software options are available to you and your business and how their privacy protocols may impact your business and data.
Beyond that, you should thoroughly understand software privacy policies and how each one manages your business’ lead data.
Smith.ai is driven by AI, offering an affordable managed chat service, and can safely and privately support lead generation, qualification, scheduling, and intake.
Our clients trust their customer lead data is in good, safe hands, as it has been since we started in 2015.
If you’re interested in learning more about our live chat service and other customer engagement solutions, book a free consultation.