In the era of internet and smartphone where ‘Data’ is dubbed as ‘New Oil’, almost every brand is trying to capture as much data as possible of their customers. Be it their online shopping habits, time spends on apps, device preferences or places they shop, brands are leaving no stone unturned to peep into consumers’ life – all in the name of personalization that comes with a ‘promise of a better user experience.’ But are brands able to live up to the customers’ expectations? Are brands able to create value for consumers against the collected personal data? Are consumers really comfortable with getting tracked?
A recent study by Inmoment, a customer experience management firm, reveals that 75% of consumers’ find most parts of personalization offered by brands are somewhat creepy. But, what is even more interesting is that nearly half of the brands are aware of this fact, and agree with the consumers.
Few of the creepiest strategies brands employe in the name of personalized, as rated by consumers, are:
- Giving out contact number while buying products
- Retargeting consumers on unrelated websites they surf
- Keep bugging via email to inform about the product consumers changed his mind at the last moment and left in a cart.
- Google asking to review a place or product I just visited or used.
- While installing apps requesting permission to access contacts, SMS, etc.
Consumers are equally worried about cross-connects between their physical and digital world – Facebook listens what they are talking in their offline world, or Google knows about places they didn’t want to carry their digital world with them.
The above findings lead us to a question, why do brand keep practising the strategy a majority of consumers don’t appreciate?
Consumers must blame no one but themselves!
The Inmoment study further reveals that 49% of consumers do nothing or take no action against bands to end this creepiness. Only 29% of consumers stand against either by posting on social media or stop using a brand.
By now you might have already found the answer of ‘who is to blame.‘ Oppositive to the notion that millennials are more open to such personalisation, study finds that older generation reports the least number of creepy experiences. In fact, Millenials stands tough as they understand the value of their personal data and time. As compared to 22% of creepy incidents reported by Millenials, Silent Generation and Baby Boomers reported 11% and 13% incidents respectively.
Millennials, the omnichannel consumers, find marketing-tactics of online-exclusive companies the most irritating practice. 27% of millennials claim that online-exclusive brands are the most creepy ones, followed by apps and retailers.
AI and ML: Consumers Don’t Appreciate Much
We all know that Articifical Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have started reforming the system – including customer support (CS). However, the deployment of AI and ML is not something consumers appreciate the most when it comes to seeking support from a brand. The study highlights that ‘staff interaction‘ is the most important element as 65% of consumers value it the most and say that human interactions result in higher sales and personalised bonding with a brand.
The mandate of consumers is quite clear – staff interaction is the most important. 74% of consumers also said that poor staff experience results in bad brand experience, which surprisingly, brands don’t agree with. In contrast to consumers, only 29% brands believe that poor brand experience has a negative impact on the bad experience.
The disconnect between the consumers and brands is clearly visible here and it is the area where brands must pay attention to met consumers’ expectations.
Are Consumers Carrying Conservative Mindset
All the above findings lead us to think, “Aren’t consumers comfortable by sharing their data at all for a better and personalized experience?”
Not at all; consumers are quite happy sharing their data conditioned to transparency and gaining value in return, reveals another study by DMA and Acxiom. 63% of respondents feel happy about the data being collected nowadays, but 88% also make a point that transparency is one of the keys further to increase trust in how their data is being used.
- Consumers don’t see value in sharing personal data to have interaction easier or more efficient with brands. Exclusive access or VIP treatment is rather more convincing.
- Prioritise your data collection strategies only for activities that have a long-term direct impact on consumers.
- Invest in staff, not just on technology. Make the best use of technology to train staff to provide the most jubilant customer support experience to consumers. No matter how advanced you make your customer support by collecting consumer data, remember no one appreciates dialling customer support for his problems.
- Consumers must be vocal about creepy experiences brand may have created unintentionally. Value and respect your personal data, and exchange it only with the very best.