Aussie businesses falling short when meeting data privacy expectations

Friday, 20 August, 2021

Aussie businesses falling short when meeting data privacy expectations

Australian businesses are failing to keep up with the data privacy expectations of their customers when digitising their offerings, according to a study announced by SAP SE. While 84% of Australians expect brands to provide transparency into how their personal data is being used, only 34% of businesses are meeting this expectation. This expectation among Australians is higher than the APAC average expectation of 74%. Australians feel that, when it concerns data protection, organisations fall short of their expectations by up to 50%. Scott Treller, Executive General Manager (Australia and New Zealand) of SAP Customer Experience, noted that COVID-19 has accelerated the rate at which businesses implemented digital infrastructure to continue meeting customer demands for a seamless online experience.

“While it’s positive that brands have adapted quickly to the pandemic by embracing digital tools, the findings highlight the concerns that Australians have around how brands are collecting and using their data. Today’s consumers are digitally savvy and intentional about the information they share. As a result, they expect assurance that their data is secure. Brands need to ensure that they protect customer information and offer the ability to control how it’s used, if they are to gain trust, and ultimately business, from consumers,” Treller said.

The research shows that on one hand, businesses need to truly know their customers in order to deliver the hyper-personalised experiences necessary to separate from the competition and strengthen loyalty. On the other hand, collecting and processing customer data is increasingly complicated. The study identified a mismatch between customer expectations around data privacy and how businesses are delivering, which will have a significant impact if left unaddressed. Approximately 84% of Australians expect that organisations will not share their data with a third part; however, 37% believe that a business they shared their data with has kept it secure. To stay ahead of customer expectations, brands must build trust by prioritising customer needs and providing them the freedom on how they want to be engaged.

Treller recommends starting by offering customers transparency and control of their own personal data. “Not only will this give customers a better understanding of your data practices, but it can also let them define their own experiences, to build trust. For businesses, there’s no better partner than an informed, empowered and data-driven customer,” Treller said.

The study also indicated a gap between customer expectations and actual experiences in areas such as responding to a customer query within 24 hours (82% versus 41%), resolving customer issues in less than three interactions (83% versus 43%), treating suppliers ethically (78% versus 44%) and actively working to reduce gender and racial inequality (73% versus 43%). The study also found gaps between customer expectations and actual experiences in other areas, such as respecting the rights and welfare of workers (81% versus 58%) and implementing specific policies to reduce and report their carbon emissions and carbon footprint (57% versus 36%).

The SAP Heart Matters study was conducted by Qualtrics on behalf of SAP Consumer Experience from February to March 2021, surveying 5900 consumers across the APAC region to understand matters they truly care about, how their views of brands correlate with their spending and what matters most when it comes to customer experience.

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