Personalisation vs Privacy: How brands in Asia-Pacific can do better

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Results of the “SAP Hybris Consumer Insight” survey revealed that almost 4 in 5 (78 percent) of consumers in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region will not choose to purchase from a brand again if their data had been used without knowledge.

Despite this, more than 83 percent of respondents are willing to share at least some form of personal information with brands, with the exception of Japan at a modest 52 percent.

More than 7,000 consumers across APAC were surveyed to uncover consumer preferences when engaging with brands, including what makes or breaks a customer experience and the continued use of a brand.

Nicholas Kontopoulos, Global Vice President of Fast Growth Markets Marketing at SAP Hybris, said, "Accounting for half of the world’s total 3.6 billion Internet users, APAC is fast becoming the centre of digital innovation for the world. APAC is also the fastest growing region, accounting for 70 percent of total growth in global internet users in 2016."

"This rapid growth of the internet, mobile phones and other digital technologies has created opportunities and challenges for millions of consumers and brands in the region," he said.

The SAP Hybris survey found that APAC consumers are most comfortable with sharing the email addresses (58 percent), shopping history and preferences (49 percent), and mobile numbers (36 percent) with brands.

While these allow brands to create personalised customer experience for the consumers, usage of consumer data has to be approached with extra caution. 67% of APAC consumers expect brands to protect their interest when using their personal data, followed by transparency in data usage (52%), and ensuring customer privacy in the event of criminal investigations at (47%).

67 percent of APAC consumers expect brands to protect their interest when using their personal data, followed by transparency in data usage (52 percent) and ensuring customer privacy in the event of criminal investigations at (47 percent).

In this digital age, APAC consumers also have higher expectations of brands. Over 80 percent of respondents in APAC indicated that they expect brands to respond within 24 hours, setting that as the baseline expectations on the speed of response. The survey further revealed that 1 in 2 (56%) of APAC respondents expect brands to respond within 3 hours – a much faster response time than what brands typically deliver. Thailand and China are the most demanding markets in the region, with almost 1 in 2 (48%) expecting brands to respond to their queries within the hour. 56% of consumers from these two countries also indicated that there will not use of brand again if it makes a mistake twice.

The survey further revealed that 1 in 2 (56 percent) of APAC respondents expect brands to respond within 3 hours – a much faster response time than what brands typically deliver.

Thailand and China are the most demanding markets in the region, with almost 1 in 2 (48 percent) expecting brands to respond to their queries within the hour. 56 percent of consumers from these two countries also indicated that there will not use of brand again if it makes a mistake twice.

"When one contacts a brand, it is not uncommon to receive an automated reply indicating that a customer service staff will get in touch within a working day. However, findings from our recent survey highlight that this is not enough with as 1 in 2 APAC consumers expecting a response within 3 hours," Kontopoulos said.

"With customer expectations higher than ever due with digitisation, the pressure is on for marketers to keep up with tech-savvy, always-on consumers—or risk getting trampled by the competition," he added.

"Our survey also found that the majority of respondents (61%) in the region indicated high volume and irrelevance of marketing content as the biggest annoyances. In addition to speed and timeliness, relevance and personalisation of content served to consumers have also become key measures of success for brands attempting to connect with customers," he stated.

What then counts as a personalised customer experience? An average of 1 in 2 (58 percent) consumers across the APAC region ranked receiving surprises from brands as the top activity that demonstrates personalised customer experience.

In Singapore, China and Japan, value-added services such as free workshops and product trials, follow closely to surprises. However, customers in Australia, India, Thailand and Korea, value personalised responses to their queries based on a full understanding of their consumption history with the brand.

"Beyond simply capturing customer data, the ability to analyse, contextualise and more importantly, act on insights gathered in real-time, are key to truly impress savvy consumers today. Brands which are unable to adapt their businesses ability to meet the needs of today’s dynamic consumers are in danger of quickly becoming irrelevant," concluded Kontopoulos.