Voxpro survey reveals how consumers feel about automated interactions and brand trust
In today’s economy, businesses are competing on so many levels – price, innovation, product or service quality to name but a few. This competitiveness can be challenging as many prices and product features have become standardised across industries. That’s where customer experience (CX) comes in as a powerful brand differentiator – indeed, often it can be the difference between losing a customer and gaining one for life.
One of the most important aspects in a business-to-customer relationship is trust – and building that trust can be challenging. In fact, in October 2018, Voxpro – powered by TELUS International surveyed 1,000 US consumers to dig into how much they trust brands with their information, and what factors impact that level of trust. While Voxpro doesn’t have a crystal ball to predict the future, the survey results reveal significant insights for brands to keep in mind as they seek to earn customer trust and loyalty in 2019.
A Trust Issue
The Voxpro CX Index: At the Corner of Technology and Human Experience revealed that only 21 percent of consumers trust brands with their personal information. This points to the fact that a large majority of consumers do not trust the brands they are interacting with on a daily basis. While the reasons for this lack of trust can vary, 33 percent don’t want brands to store their information due to concerns that it will be shared with third parties. Even more pressing for consumers is the issue of data breaches and hacks, with 45 percent citing concern around these matters. And it’s not difficult to understand why. In the past few years, it seems as though every week there is a breaking news story about a new hack or breach – most recently, we’ve seen the cases of Marriott and Quora.
Furthermore, for all of the talk around AI and automation, it seems that many consumers are deterred from using these technologies. This comes down to a lack of trust that technology can keep their data safe. In fact, of consumers who have not used a chat or automation feature before, 27 percent say it is because they don’t trust these new technologies. While technology certainly has the capability to support a strong CX strategy, it’s clear that consumers still want to establish trust and a relationship with the human behind the brand. When there is no trust, it is challenging to provide impactful customer experiences that lead to long-term loyalty. However, fear not – there is hope for brands in 2019.
Using Data for Good
While there are valid concerns among consumers around brand trust and data security, many do embrace the value that a connected, data-driven customer experience can deliver. According to the Voxpro CX Index, 45 percent of consumers DO want brands to possess their information in order to help streamline experiences. These consumers understand that speedy customer service is often good customer service, and brands having access to their data is useful, not invasive.
For customers, it often comes down to what makes their lives easier. Brands knowing their customers’ information beforehand – based on past purchases and interactions – can be powerful and personal. In fact, of consumers who do want brands to possess their information, 65 percent of them cite convenience and the time it saves as the reason. Another 25 percent of those consumers appreciate brands storing their information as it helps deliver more personalised experiences. When it comes to improving their lives, customers acknowledge the critical role that data plays, and as begin 2019, we’ll continue to see more consumers understand this.
The bottom line is that data can be an incredibly powerful tool to drive beautiful customers experiences. But for it to do that, brands must use data in ways to make customer experiences better, ultimately generating benefits for consumers.
Communication Is Key
The survey makes it very clear – brands and consumers have trust issues, and that’s not going anywhere in 2019. For brands, they realise the value that technology and data-driven CX can have on their bottom line. For consumers, they want brands to remember that they are people, too. Consumers are not just numbers on a spreadsheet, and they don’t just want to interact with machines all day. Perhaps most importantly though, brands need to earn consumers’ trust. That means both parties need to be on the same page about what data is being stored, how it is being secured and what it will be used for in the future (to drive better experiences). To build this trust, the onus is on the brand to communicate clearly and early with consumers, ensuring there are no blurred lines and instilling confidence in the brand’s approach to data security and privacy.
In 2019, we’ll continue to see headlines littered with news of the latest data security breach. Because of this, users are still wary of how brands collect, store, secure and use their information. This year, businesses should be looking to security in AI, using emerging technologies as a way to protect their customers – both from a purchasing standpoint as well as from potential digital threats that seek to steal the information customers are sharing with brands.
To gain customer loyalty and retention in 2019, brands need a balanced CX approach that instills trust and leverages both human and technology assets to drive better, more personalised experiences.
Check out part one of this blog series on the Voxpro survey that dives into Black Friday retail trends here, and stay tuned for part three. For more information on the Voxpro CX Index and to download a summary of the results, please visit here.