Saturday, 12 December 2015 17:26

Security and personal privacy are critical in the omni-channel world


Australians are enthusiastic supporters of digital engagement – using multiple channels to deal with suppliers.

These increasingly include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, mobile apps, web searches and forms, email, fax, and often as a last resort a phone call to a customer service agent. 70% say digital omni-channels have had a positive influence on the way they interact with organisations. Mobile apps are popular when engaging with banks, social media, transport providers, retailers and media, but for most organisation types, email is more frequently used than mobile apps.

Nicole Stirling, Marketing Director, Sitecore, “While businesses and consumers agree digital engagement is important and beneficial, at times there is a real disconnect in the expectations of these two groups. Consumers want choice and that means maintaining traditional channels as well as delivering new value-add digital services. Consumers are also looking for transparency, control of data, speed and security of service. However, the IT and marketing departments charged with building these channels all too often focus on designing bells and whistles. They need to understand that consumers don't care about the tools. They just want fast, reliable outcomes.”

A new report ‘Digital Australia: Understanding the Customer Experience Road Trip, a study into digital marketing activity’ was conducted by Tech Research Asia, and co-sponsored by Sitecore and Microsoft. It shows:

Customers say digital engagement benefits include time and place independence, faster time to outcome, and greater control over the experience - but they also express wariness when it comes to security.

80% of consumers believe security issues can affect their online experience and more than 50% are concerned by data privacy factors such as the type of data being stored, where it is stored, and how it is used. Both of these issues are more important to them than a good user interface, extensive functionality, frequent updates, or cross channel capabilities.

Devices currently used by consumers for digital engagement include: 70% use a laptop; 60% use a smartphone; and just over 50% use a desktop computer.

This is expected to change as the Internet of Things gains momentum. The study found that just under 20% of people would like to use a smartwatch, a similar number expect to use a connected household appliance or a connected car, and 10% plan to use virtual reality.

The nature of each engagement has a big impact on the kind of channel selected by the consumer. More than 50% of Australians prefer to engage digitally when making payments or conducting financial transactions, for research or data, general communications, managing a membership or subscription, or when managing personal data. Almost 50% prefer to shop via digital channels.

Apart from these transactions the majority of people still want the ability to pick and choose between digital or to pick up the phone. This has important implications for businesses developing digital strategies. Any attempt to limit transaction types to specified channels is likely to be resisted and may be resented by consumers.

The primary reasons consumers choose to stick with traditional channels include a desire to deal with people, concern over the impersonal nature of digital engagement, or the lack of any compelling reason to change from existing service channels. This points to the importance of designing methods of digital engagement that improve on the existing experience, rather than simply replicating current practices.

Among those consumers who are using digital channels, unwanted advertising is by far the largest cause of frustration (cited by four times as many consumers as the next issue). Lack of security is the second most common frustration, while sharing third place is service that encroaches on privacy by tracking, and a poor user interface

Beyond mere frustration is the poor consumer experience. When outcomes do not match expectations, almost 60% of Australian consumers say they would need an incentive, to hear positive word of mouth or see enough positive online reviews to continue being a customer. Just over 10% would not engage with the company again.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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