The Power of Personalization

Customer Experience
While organizations are often concerned of appearing Big Brotherish, as long as they use customers' personal data responsibly, customers are happy.

It is no secret that customers expect personalized interactions from the companies they do business with, but business leaders often wonder whether there's a limit to how personalized they can get. How can they make sure not to cross the line between the targeted interactions that customers want while not appearing intrusive?A new study launched by SAS during its Premier Business Leadership Series this week underlined what business leaders have long suspected--as long as organizations use their customers' personal data responsibly, customers are happy.

The study among 1,260 respondents took into consideration public concern over government access to personal data. But while 71 percent said news about government use of personal data has increased concerns about privacy, 60 percent still expect businesses to "know their preferences and understand their needs."

As Wilson Raj, SAS' global customer intelligence director, notes, using analytics wisely is a win for both businesses and customers. "It's a win for brands that nurture profitable relationships based on a deep understanding of their customers. And consumers win when they receive relevant offers and communications from vendors they prefer," he notes.

Customers with an income of more than $100,000 and those under the age of 30 have the highest expectations for personalized interactions. "They want to be treated as individuals," Raj stresses. Customers who have a higher income said they enjoyed more personalization and less irrelevant messages.

The survey revealed that online retailers give the perception of doing the best job when it comes to personalizing interactions. Raj notes that when asked which of the businesses they do business with are best at personalizing interactions, respondents chose banks.
However airlines and hospitality organizations trailed behind other industries when it comes to using data for personalized interactions.

While banks ranked higher than mobile providers and national retailers, another study unveiled by SAS found that cyberattacks are the main reason for customers losing trust in their banks. The survey was carried out among 250 retail and commercial banking customers in North America, Europe, and Latin America and found that banks often have a lack of dedicated internal resources. In fact, on 24 percent of respondents said they feel "highly prepared" for cyberthreats in terms of having the necessary resources.