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Perfecting customer journey via personalization

Article by John Yang, Vice President, Asia Pacific and Japan, for Progress

The customer journey is becoming increasingly commoditized. Your customers invest not only their savings but also their time and effort just to continue interaction with your business. One other less recognized currency they use to purchase this commodity is their personal data. It is high time they see where this investment can take them.

A lack of any real personalization breeds friction for your customer and trouble for your business. According to Adobe’s 2022 Digital Trends: APAC in Focus report, consumers recognize the benefits from receiving personalized services from brands but do differentiate between good and bad experiences. In fact, the study showed that 68%  of consumers’ trust in brands increases when brands use technology to personalize their experience. However, 74% of consumers say trust falls when personalization is executed poorly, with intrusiveness taking the top spot of bad experiences.

The million-dollar question: Does personalization violate privacy?

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John Yang, Vice President, Asia Pacific and Japan, for Progress

There has always been a tension, or maybe, a paradox between personalization and privacy. While consumers understand and accept that brands want their personal data to improve their overall customer journey, there is still apprehension. According to the 2022 Gartner Customer Service and Support Survey, 71% of business-to-consumer (B2C) and 86% of business-to-business (B2B) customers worldwide already expect companies to be informed about their personal information during an interaction.

At the same time, the research highlighted the importance of regulations in terms of collecting data from consumers. Given the number of global and high-profile data breaches and tumultuous phishing schemes, consumers are still wary of giving out their personal information to brands, even those that they trust. Gartner even further predicted that by 2025, 75% of the world’s population will have their personal information covered by modern privacy regulations to prevent any breaches and increase consumer confidence.

In Asia, where customers have embraced the digitalization drive with open arms, the World Economic Forum (WEF) finds that the consumer chart is growing steadily, with 55% of the global consumer class now living in the region.

Amid all this, brands need to be mindful of this as they interact with the people they serve. They need answers to critical questions about who sees customer data and how that data is being used.

Regulations, inevitably, factor significantly in all this. At the current moment, the region’s regulatory landscape is diverse, and navigating it can be tricky. This terrain is also likely to become more robust and cohesive as digitization accelerates. Therefore, it is critical that compliance not only shields businesses from breaking laws and the associated financial and reputational risks but helps them assure customers that their data is being used responsibly to, ultimately, enhance their experience with the brand.

Transparency engenders confidence

In a world where consumers can easily switch from one brand to another just based on one unfavorable customer experience, personalization is especially difficult. Add to that the many challenges of making the consumers agreeable to the kind of information you need from them. Ultimately, the goal is to make your consumers assign trust to your brand with the same lack of fear you exhibit lending your car keys to a friend. You tell yourself nothing bad is likely to happen, and if anything does, you can work that out if that time comes.

Consumers are willing to provide personal information as long as that information is used in a transparent way and in a manner that satisfies them, according to a Salesforce.com report. The benefits come in the form of convenience and improved experience, and the numbers indicate that value is recognized by a great majority of people.

Business leaders in the region have an opportunity to make the most of this consumer fervor for better brand experiences. Those that can delight customers by creating and deploying an application that optimizes data in a secure manner stand to win big, but this requires solutions that mandate limits on the number of people that have access to customer information.

The Power of Responsible Personalization

Responsible use and privacy concerns top the list of expectations if you want to improve customer retention. Before everything else, these should be laid out clearly for the consumers to understand and should be strictly adhered to once they tick the box of acceptance.

Great brands acknowledge that customers can vote with their wallets. Thoughtfulness goes a long way, especially as customers navigate through their brand journey. Guiding them throughout via personalization not only makes this experience a pleasurable and satisfying one for them, but also brings direct benefits to business bottom lines, and you can’t put a price on that.


The views in the article are of the author and may not represent the views of Tech Wire Asia.