​Why businesses must work harder to win customers’ trust online

"Whichever the country, marketing and customer engagement is now all about personalisation."

Despite a slight lessening of concern about data privacy over the past year, 62 percent of consumers are still concerned about continuing well publicised data breaches.

New global SAS research, covering 15 countries, reports the level of concern in Australia and New Zealand to be higher, at 66 percent.

“Whichever the country, marketing and customer engagement is now all about personalisation,” says Iggy Pintado, Head of Marketing, SAS Australia and New Zealand.

“Consumers increasingly expect to be told about things that appeal to them individually and they willingly cooperate by disclosing their personal information.

“However, they are clearly concerned that their information may not be held securely and they worry that details about them are gathered without consent.”

While women globally were much more concerned than men about what businesses do with their personal data, Pintado says there was no difference between them in Australia and New Zealand.

“Nor was there any difference here based on income,” Pintado adds. “However, concern amongst consumers aged 40 and older was double that of younger people.”

Local research also shows that trans-Tasman consumers are very willing to provide vendors with their names and email addresses but reluctant to give their age, a mailing address or phone number.

Generally, New Zealanders were more forthcoming than Australians - when respondents were asked what degree of control they felt they had over the personal information they shared with organisations, more than 25 per cent said they felt they had none at all.

“Local findings are perhaps influenced by the enthusiasm Australians and New Zealanders have for new technologies,” Pintado adds, “and by our comparatively very high use of the internet.”

In New Zealand, 95 percent of the population are internet users - the figure is 93 percent in Australia and less than 50 percent globally.

While similarly high percentages of consumers in both countries were concerned about the security of their information when recorded using smart phones, PCs, laptops and tablets, there were stark differences elsewhere.

At present, 63 percent of Australians worry about security using smart watches compared with 23 percent for New Zealand, with Australians’ concern about wearables twice that of New Zealanders.

“This research proves that businesses must work harder to be seen as digitally trustworthy in the eyes of their customers,” Pintado adds.

“Senior executives across the organisation must balance the benefits of personalised marketing with the rigours of data security.

“Policies must clearly spell out how and what data is collected and shared, and there must be processes to ensure compliance. After all, a confident consumer is more likely to be a better customer.”

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