The relationship you establish with your consumers is vital, especially when it comes to understanding how they are engaging with your brands. A survey by SAP Hybris, takes a look at what makes a relationship work between a brand and its consumers.
A Digital Affair
Consumers expect brands to be transparent about how they use their data through giveaways and rewards and customer service. They’re choosing how they interact with brands, be it through social media, forums or chatbots.
Big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning are improving the service experience and helping brands get closer to the customer.
Establishing Trust in the Relationship
The survey found that overall, 80% of consumers globally are willing to share information with brands. Japanese consumers are the most reticent at 52%, while those in Colombia and India were the most willing to share it at 92%. In terms of regions, 91% of Latin Americans were open to sharing their information, with Western Europe at the other end of the scale (67%).
With the not-surprising exception of Russia, email addresses were listed as the personal information item consumers were most willing to share in every country. Globally, more half of respondents said they’re fine with providing email.
Localization also matters. In India, over 68% are happy to provide emails, but in Japan and the Netherlands, less than 40% are willing to do so.
The SAP Hybris study found consumers in the developing world are more willing to provide email addresses. An average of 61% of those surveyed in Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, India and China are willing to share email addresses, compared to an average of 54% of consumers in the U.S., Canada, France, UK, Germany, Singapore, Japan and Australia.
Other than email, consumers are most willing to share shopping history and preferences. However, in the Middle East, consumers would rather share their mobile number.
The use of customer data is critical. The survey found that privacy regarding data collection is a high concern, and protection and transparency are expected.
Long-Distance Relationship Woes
Consumers are less willing to share if a brand is going to provide personal data across international borders. This means building trust with consumers is even more critical in this case.
Over half of consumers in India, China, Saudi Arabia and Colombia expect brands to ensure consistent offers online and were more willing to share their data across borders. In Colombia, for example, 94% said they were willing to have their information shared across borders, even more than those okay with having it shared domestically (92%).
Overall, brands should personalize the data they collect and reflect the expectations of local consumers in order to strengthen trust. Consumers everywhere understand that brands need to collect personal data in order to provide the best experience.
Don’t Go Ghost on Your Customers
Not responding to your customers is a sure way to lose them. They will quickly decamp to a competitor if they feel they aren’t getting the attention they deserve.
The SAP Hybris survey found expectations regarding brand response are consistently high. Globally, 89% of consumers said they want to hear back on a question or concern within 24 hours regarding a question or concern. What is surprising is that 56.6% of brands still can’t be contacted via social media.
Keeping the Love Alive – What Consumers Want in Return
The survey found that customers love when a brand surprises them with perks, discounts and freebies. France was the only country to not rank this as the most important activity. French customers value brands that respond appropriately to questions and concerns related to their account history. Every country ranked this in the top three, with the exception of Poland. Russians loved surprises the most, with 70% of consumers selecting this response.
Incentives in the form of gifts, discounts are must. This can be facilitated by collecting data for customer profiles, and setting up a methodology for personalized interactions across channels. Providing customers with recommendations based on purchase history or sending small gifts on their birthday is sure loyalty winner.
Incentives should be part of the entire customer journey, particularly post-purchase, in order to maintain a strong relationship. Make the effort to know what they like and don’t like.
Breaking Up is Easy; Getting Back Together is Hard
The universal bane of consumers worldwide is receiving too many direct marketing and sales calls, with 60% calling it annoying. Right behind it was too many marketing and sales emails, which varied by country and region. In France, for example, over a third of those surveyed said staffers not being aware of their history with the brand was a particular annoyance.
Being annoyed by unsolicited advances is one thing, but breaking the bond of trust will push consumers out the door. Using a customer’s data without their knowledge is the number one reason they opt not to shop with the brand again, cited by 80% of respondents globally.
Being neglected by a brand was the number-two reason for customers leaving the relationship, cited by 71% of respondents, followed by spam emails. More than 83% of those in Europe and Latin America said they would part company with a brand if it used their data without their knowledge. Consumers in the U.S and Canada find consumer data breaches and unresponsive customer service to be almost equally unforgiveable.
Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Poland and China were the only countries that ranked “inconsistent online and in-store promotions” as one of their top three reasons for abandoning a brand. Thus, brands doing business in these countries can keep customers by offering consistent value.