So says new research from Accenture, which claims that poor personalisation and lack of trust prompted nearly two-fifths (38%) of UK consumers to defect to a different company over the past 12 months.
Accenture insists this costs UK companies an estimated £77bn last year, although obviously those firms which captured the new business will not be complaining.
The 13th annual Accenture Strategy Global Consumer Pulse Research gauged the attitudes and expectations of more than 25,000 consumers around the world, including 1,800 UK consumers, about their appetite for more intuitive, technology-driven brand experiences.
As organisations strive to become ‘living businesses’ – companies that are pre-emptive and responsive to changing customer needs – the study revealed a significant digital trust deficit that must be addressed before true customisation can be delivered.
Accenture Strategy managing director and advanced customer strategy lead for the EALA region Rachel Barton said: “As technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and digital assistants become more sophisticated and mainstream, companies are creating new touchpoints, offerings and services that intelligently anticipate and flex to their customer’s precise needs, offering a level of hyper-relevance not experienced before.
"Those that succeed will hit a ‘sweet spot’, whereby UK customers will be willing to share more personal insights into their world in return for greater value and the confidence that their data is protected.
Some 37% of UK consumers are more likely to shop with companies that always personalise experiences, as long as their trust is not compromised. Over a quarter (27%) say they would find great value in services that intuitively learn about their needs over time to better customise product, service or content recommendations.
Nearly half (49%) of UK consumers would use ‘smart-reordering’ services where intelligent sensors in the home pre-empt when a product, such as laundry detergent, is running low and automatically re-orders it on their behalf. Another 31% use digital assistants. While the vast majority (89%) are satisfied with the experience, 42% say it can feel slightly creepy when technology starts to correctly interpret and anticipate their needs.
Digital trust remains a critical barrier to enabling hyper-relevant experiences, the report says. Expectedly, a clear majority (89%) of UK consumers say that it is extremely important that companies protect the privacy of their personal information. Another 76% say it is frustrating to realise that some cannot be trusted to use it appropriately.
Some 43% of UK consumers fear intelligent new services will come to know too much about them and their family. Overall, 58% want companies to earn their trust by being more open and transparent with how their information is being used.
Barton said: “Digital trust will become increasingly challenging for companies to achieve as they look to capture new categories of customer data, such as biometric, geo-location and even genomic data, in their drive for greater relevance.
"Customer concerns will inevitably rise, so it’s critical that companies have strong data security and privacy measures in place, they give customers full control over their data, and are transparent with how they use it. This is particularly pertinent as organisations prepare for GDPR coming into force in May 2018."