Companies are facing a Catch-22 with customers, who are frustrated when brands fail to deliver relevant shopping experiences but who also are concerned about personal data privacy.
Forty-nine percent of customers are concerned about privacy, yet subscribe to intelligent services designed to anticipate their needs, according to research from Accenture.
Poor personalization and lack of trust cost U.S. organizations $756 billion last year, as 41% of consumers switched companies. Without deeper customer insight, companies cannot deliver the experiences they crave, according to the 13th annual Accenture Strategy Global Consumer Pulse Research.
The study gauged the attitudes and expectations of more than 25,000 consumers around the world, including 2,000 U.S. consumers, about their appetite for more intuitive, technology-driven brand experiences. As organizations strive to become “living businesses” — companies that are extraordinarily pre-emptive and responsive to changing customer needs — the study revealed a significant digital trust deficit that must be addressed before true customization can be delivered.
As technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and digital assistants become more sophisticated and mainstream, companies are creating new touch points, offerings and services that intelligently anticipate and flex to their customer’s precise needs, offering a level of hyper-relevance not experienced before, said Robert Wollan, senior managing director and Advanced Customer Strategy global lead at Accenture Strategy.
“Those that succeed will hit a ‘sweet spot’ whereby U.S. customers will be willing to share more personal insights into their world in return for greater value and the confidence that their data is protected,” Wollan says in a release.
Forty-three percent of U.S. consumers are more likely to shop with companies that always personalize experiences, as long as their trust isn’t compromised. Nearly a third (31%) say they would find great value in services that intuitively learn about their needs over time to customize product, service or content recommendations.
Nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers would use "smart-reordering" services where intelligent sensors in the home pre-empt when a product, such as laundry detergent, is running low and automatically re-orders it on their behalf. Another 36%t use digital assistants. While the vast majority (89%) are satisfied with the experience, 40% say it can feel slightly creepy when technology starts to correctly interpret and anticipate their needs.
Digital trust remains a critical barrier to enabling hyper-relevant experiences. Expectedly, a clear majority (92%) of U.S. consumers say that it is extremely important that companies protect the privacy of their personal information. Another 79% say it is frustrating to realize that some cannot be trusted to use it appropriately.
Forty-three percent of U.S. consumers fear intelligent new services will come to know too much about them and their family. Overall, 66% want companies to earn their trust by being more open and transparent with how their information is being used.
Digital trust will become increasingly challenging for companies to achieve as they look to capture new categories of customer data, such as biometric, geo-location and even genomic data, in their drive for greater relevance, said Kevin Quiring, managing director, Advanced Customer Strategy North America lead, Accenture Strategy.
“Customer concerns will inevitably rise, so it’s critical that companies have strong data security and privacy measures in place, they give customers full control over their data, and are transparent with how they use it,” Quiring says.
Hyper-relevance is the next wave of growth for companies operating in consumer
industries, but it cannot be achieved without engendering digital trust. To pivot to hyper-relevance, companies should consider giving customers full control over their data. As customers demand
greater control over how companies use their personal information, organizations must become more transparent.