APAC customers demand data privacy and better customer service

Across most of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, customers are willing to share their personal details with companies as long as they are transparent in how they use that information, a new survey says.

The exception to this is Japan, where only 52% of respondents were willing to share any personal information.

The SAP Hybris Consumer Insight survey polled 7,000 people in the APAC region, looking into customer preferences and the factors that determine brand loyalty. It found that consumers feel most strongly about how organisations use their personal data, and how they deliver personalised customer service and marketing content.

Protecting personal data

The survey reports that 67% of respondents expect brands to protect customers’ interests when using their personal data. Respondents also expect brands to provide transparency in data usage (52%) and to ensure customer privacy in the event of criminal investigations (47%).

In addition, 78% of respondents say they wouldn’t buy from a brand again if they learned that the company had used their personal data without their knowledge. However, 82% were still willing to share at least some personal data. The details customers are most comfortable with sharing are:

  • Email addresses (58%)
  • Shopping history and preferences (49%)
  • Mobile numbers (36%)

These trends may well influence the way companies across the globe treat consumers and their data. The APAC market represents half of the world’s 3.6 billion Internet users and it is continuing to grow. Last year, the region accounted for 70% of the total growth in Internet users globally.

Interacting with brands

The APAC market’s demands over the way companies interact with customers online will not be as easy to accommodate. SAP Hybris’s survey found that 52% of people in the APAC region expect brands to respond to email or social media comments within three hours – despite how rarely this actually happens – and, in total, 80% of people expect a response within 24 hours.

Like personal responses to comments, respondents also called for brands to provide relevant and personalised marketing content.

In order to impress consumers, organisations need to not only obtain customer data, but they must track internet habits and “act on insights gathered in real-time,” said Nicholas Kontopoulos, SAP Hybris’s global vice president of fast growth markets marketing.

However, to achieve personalised marketing content, companies need to collect and track data that many people are not willing to share. As another survey shows, 60% of respondents admitted concerns around advertiser tracking – a practice aided by cookies and super cookies.

Where the demand for more personalised content fits into an era that is already struggling to maintain the security of personal data is yet unknown. For Nicholas Kontopoulous, though, the fact is simple: “Brands [that] are unable to adapt their business ability to meet the needs of today’s dynamic consumers are in danger of quickly becoming irrelevant.”

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