Consumers Say: Treat Us Like People, Not Numbers

Consumers are wary as we head into what Salesforce calls the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

They are worried about their privacy. But they want highly personalized experiences, and are willing to share data to get them.

It is “no longer enough to simply include a customer’s name in an email,” Salesforce states in a study: Trends in Customer Trust.

In a survey of 6,723 people across the globe, Salesforce found that 59% believe their personal data is vulnerable to a security breach, and 54% don’t believe companies have their best interests in mind 

Those numbers are higher for baby boomers and lower for millennials.

Overall, 84% say “being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. 

What do consumers want in this age of proliferating touchpoints?

Of the millennials and GenZers polled, 75% expect connected processes — “seamless handoffs between departments and channels, contextualized engagement based on earlier interactions.” 

Older folks want the same thing, including 63% of the Baby boomers and 69% of GenXers.

In addition, 76% of millennials want companies to know how they actually use products and services. And over 60% of the other generations also do.

Finally, 75% of millennials want instant, on-demand engagement. But only 53% of the boomers do.

Consumers who believe in a brand will be loyal (95%), recommend the brand (93%), buy more (92%), buy more frequently (91%), spend more money (88%) and share their experiences (86%). Moreover, 91% will do the latter.

With regard to transparency, 55% say they understand how firms are using their data, including 63% of millennials. And 53% expect offers to be personalized (for millennials, the percentage is 67%). In addition, 51% say they are comfortable with firms applying information about them to fuel personalized engagement (among millennials, it is 64%). 

That said, 60% overall worry about their data being compromised due to AI. Yet most also realize that good can come from AI (for the millennials it’s 75%), and say it’s acceptable that firms use AI to improve the customer experience.

However, only 46% of boomers believe this, compared with 68% of the millennials.

At the same time, 35% of the millennials and boomers don’t trust AI. GenXers are slightly more trusting — only 32% feel the same way.   

But 86% will be more trusting if companies explain how they are using the data to improve the experience, and 91% for millennials. And 78% want brands to use data to “fully” personalize the experience.

Want to win their trust? Then fulfill these customer desires:

  • Give me control over what information is collected about me — 92%
  • Be transparent about how my information is used — 91%
  • Show their commitment to protecting my information — 91%
  • Have a strong privacy policy — 90%
  • Ask for my explicit consent to use my information — 88%
  • Vow not to share my information without permission — 88%



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