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Almost two-thirds of the country can’t name one organisation they trust to handle their data

New research shows almost two-thirds (64%) of UK consumers can’t name a single organisation they trust with their data

‘Upfront and Personal: Leveraging data to deliver a genuinely personalized omnichannel experience?’ is a research report published by The Institute of Customer Service and co-sponsored first direct .

  • A quarter (25%) of customers won’t share any of their personal information with organisations
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of respondents admit they have given incorrect personal details to companies

The report reveals almost two-thirds of UK consumers (64%) failed to name a single organisation they trust with their data, when prompted.

The research exposes consumer scepticism towards organisations utilising their data for business gains, with a quarter (25%) of customers saying they are unwilling to share any personal data with organisations. This follows a flurry of high-profile data breaches from social media giants and household brands bringing the topic to the forefront of public consciousness. Almost 4 in 10 (38%) believe more government regulation should be in place to ensure better data management.

Disparities were also discovered between the types of data use consumers are comfortable with. Over two-thirds (69%) react positively to offers and customer loyalty benefits (68%), whereas three in five (58%) feel negatively about organisations passing their details to other companies. Over half (53%) appreciate organisations asking for their feedback, while almost a third (29%) feel negatively towards companies who use their web activity to recommend products.

The report was compiled by The Institute of Customer Service to examine how data can be leveraged by businesses to deliver a genuinely personal, omnichannel customer experience.

The research sets out seven practical recommendations to businesses to assist with this:

  1. Understanding and engaging with customer preferences - Understand how and why customers want to interact with them and what level of personalisation customers consider to be beneficial

  2. Building a culture of integrity and transparency – Develop a culture that values the critical role of data management, not just for meeting legal requirements, but to enable long-term customer trust and commercial objectives

  3. Integrating data and systems – Define the key datasets required to enable customer experience and a plan to enable data to be collected, accessed and transferred

  4. Organisational alignment – Ensure there is alignment of purpose and strategy across marketing, customer experience, data and IT teams

  5. Maintaining the human touch – Design customer journeys so there is always the opportunity to speak to a person, ensure hand-offs between channels are managed smoothly and invest in developing employees’ empathy, problem-solving and commercial judgement skills

  6. Managing the needs of vulnerable customers – Develop expertise in diagnosing the needs of vulnerable customers and tailoring experiences to meet their needs

  7. Base your approach on customer needs, rather than being driven by your data and systems– Track linkages and hand-offs between channels in a single customer journey, identify opportunities for personalisation that make experiences easier and set measures that enable a realistic assessment of customer experience and commercial impact

Joanna Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service, said: “Building trust is a critical factor in any business relationship. How we leverage customer data in order to deliver a genuinely personalised customer experience is a key challenge facing most organisations in the UK today’’. 

‘’Certainly, artificial Intelligence and new technologies provide a real opportunity to unify multiple sets of data and information. This heralds a new era, but organisations should continue to be guided by their purpose, relevance and customer objectives.

“Businesses can build trust and sustain success by being open and transparent about the data they collect and thinking hard about what they do with it. It’s about using it responsibly to deliver an enhanced service, not just as another sales opportunity.‘’

Joe Gordon, head of first direct , says: “We’re totally driven by customer insight and use it to keep us ahead of the curve. It enables us to make ourselves more personal and even more relevant; delivering a genuine experience seamlessly however a customer interacts with us

“Our aim has always been to pioneer amazing service through the best channel for the customer. I strongly believe financial well-being should be about more than products; it should be about service.  Today first direct is primarily a digital bank as customers find this the best way to manage their lives, but we’ll always have great people who are able and empowered to help meet customer needs. Over the coming years, the successful businesses from a customer experience point of view will be the ones who find ‘win-wins’ for themselves and their customers.”