3pressureSocial networks and search engines are increasingly customizing our advertisements, contact networks and search results, making each user’s experience unique. But at least since Edward Snowden’s revelations, consumers started to be concerned about data collection and want to know why third parties are gathering information and for what reasons. Interestingly, many still seem to be willing to trade their data and privacy for convenience and a more personalized experience, as recent studies show.

Hybris, the company SAP acquired last year to present their solutions for customer engagement and commerce, just released the results of its “Consumer Insight” survey that found out that almost 4 in 5 (78%) of consumers in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region won’t choose to purchase from a brand again if their data had been used without knowledge.

Despite this, more than 83% of respondents are willing to share at least some form of personal information with brands: For instance, APAC consumers are most comfortable with sharing the email addresses (58%), shopping history and preferences (49%), and mobile numbers (36%) with brands. While such information allows brands to create personalized customer experience, usage of consumer data must 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 (47%).

Furthermore, in today’s digital age, APAC consumers expect a lot more from of brands: In fact, around 80% of respondents in APAC indicated that they want brands to respond within 24 hours and 1 in 2 (56%) even expects a response within 3 hours. Thailand and China are the most demanding markets in the region, with almost half of the respondents (48%) demanding a reply to their queries within an hour and they usually don’t accept mistakes from brands twice (56%).

“When someone 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 as 1 in 2 APAC consumers are expecting a response within 3 hours. With rising customer expectations, due to digitization, the pressure is on for marketers to keep up with tech-savvy, always-on consumers—or risk getting trampled by the competition”, Nicholas Kontopoulos, Global Vice President of Fast Growth Markets Marketing at SAP Hybris explains. “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 personalization of content served to consumers have also become key measures of success for brands attempting to connect with customers”, he added.

Receiving surprises from brands counts for 58% as a personalized customer experience, followed closely by value-added services such as free workshops and product trials - at least in Singapore, China and Japan, Customers in Australia, India, Thailand and Korea, however, value personalized responses to their queries based on a full understanding of their consumption history with the brand.

“Accounting for half of the world’s total 3.6 billion Internet users, APAC is fast becoming the center of digital innovation for the world. APAC is also the fastest growing region, accounting for 70% 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. 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. Beyond simply capturing customer data, the ability to analyze, contextualize and more importantly, act on insights gathered in real-time, are key to truly impress savvy consumers today “, SAP Hybris Global Vice President of Fast Growth Markets Marketing, concluded.

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.  Well, in times where all our activity can be tracked, analyzed, used and stored by providers and governments, it won’t be easy to draw the line between personalization, surveillance and people’s rights and finding a perfect solution will still keep us on our toes for quite some time.

By MediaBUZZ