Digital Trust, Personalization Issues Cost U.S. Businesses $756 Billion Last Year

Consumers’ concerns over their digital privacy and companies’ poor personalization efforts cost U.S. organizations $756 billion last year, reports Accenture in its release of the thirteenth annual Accenture Strategy Global Consumer Pulse Research report.

The research 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.

Accenture’s report found that 44 percent of consumers are frustrated when companies fail to deliver relevant, personalized shopping experiences, while 49 percent are concerned about personal data privacy as they subscribe to intelligent services designed to understand and anticipate their needs. This is costing businesses money as poor personalization and lack of trust drove 41 percent of consumers to switch away from the companies they were doing business with last year.

“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. 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,” says Robert Wollan, senior managing director and advanced customer strategy global lead at Accenture Strategy.

The study found that 43 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 one-third, 31 percent, say they would find great value in services that intuitively learn about their needs over time to customize product, service or content recommendations. Furthermore, 48 percent of consumers would use “smart-reordering” services where intelligent sensors in the home prompt them when a product, such as laundry detergent, is running low and automatically re-order it on their behalf. Another 36 percent use digital assistants. While 89 percent are satisfied with the experience, 40 percent say it can feel slightly creepy when technology starts to correctly interpret and anticipate their needs.

Digital trust remains a critical barrier to enabling these hyper-relevant experiences. A clear majority, 92 percent, of consumers say that it is extremely important that companies protect the privacy of their personal information. Another 79 percent say it is frustrating to realize that some cannot be trusted to use it appropriately. The study also found that 43 percent of U.S. consumers fear intelligent new services will come to know too much about them and their family. Overall, 66 percent 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,” says 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 they are transparent with how they use it.”

Learn more about Accenture’s report here.

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