How The Digital Economy Has Raised Expectations For Personalized Experience

The digital realm has reinvented consumer expectations.

A survey of 26,000 consumers spread over 26 countries by professional services company Accenture said that digital has not only increased customer expectations but also instilled a hunger for interactive experiences. According to the 2017 Accenture Digital Consumer Survey, people now assume their experience with technology will be automatically tailored to their needs on both an emotional and physical level.

High profile tech such as artificial intelligence, virtual or augmented reality and voice-activated devices has led to the creation of dynamic digital consumers, all of whom know what they want and when they want it.

“Consumers expect their experience to “automagically” adapt whenever they engage physically, digitally and emotionally,” said Accenture. “And now advanced computing techniques can harness expanding volumes of personal data (e.g. search, social, geo-tagged sensors, payments, shopping carts, speech) to create the magic behind new hyper-personalized experiences.”

Customer Experience Matters In A Digital Economy

Accenture’s survey echoes a recent report by IDC that said 2017 is the dawn of the digital experience economy.

According to IDC, companies must become “digital native.” Worldwide investments in digital experience is predicted to hit $2.2 trillion in 2019. IDC said that the next few years will see an adoption of a 3rd Platform that includes cloud, mobile, big data or analytics and social technologies—all of which already play a major part in digital customer engagement.

Accenture said that 85% of people think it is easier to interact with a company through cognitive platforms that use data to provide the experience that consumers want. Around 52% of people interact through artificial intelligence-powered live chats on a regular basis, with 62% comfortable that an AI application is dealing with a question. The perception among the majority of consumers is that artificial intelligence is less biased, engages faster, more polite and available at any time, the report said.

Virtual or augmented reality is also a prime mover in the digital experience.

The report said that the flood of virtual reality headsets in the last 12 months has pushed the virtual/augmented reality sector to the forefront of consumer awareness. Fifty-four percent of people cited augmented and virtual reality and AR as reason to buy new smartphones in 2017 as an avenue for hyper-personalization

Gaming was near the top of the list, although people said that learning new skills, virtual interaction with friends and enterprise applications were driving interest.

The concept of a digital personal assistant was another factor for dynamic consumers. People value personalized services that make their lives easier or seamless. This could explain why there has been a significant increase in the number of people who use voice-activated assistants as part of their daily lives, Accenture said.

In addition, half of the people surveyed said that they had no problem with personalized services that leverage significant amounts of personal data, with health, travel, entertainment and fashion all scoring over 50% in terms of purchase intent.

Personal Data Security Remains A Worry

The one caveat was that people wanted to be more involved in the management of their personal data.

Around 87% of people said that it was important to have the opportunity to review or control their personal data online. Security was a concern, as was the potential for identity theft. Consumer confidence in the security of their online data was relatively low—only 14% of people said that they had total confidence. The majority of people were either confident that certain websites were secure or not always confident, scoring 28% and 45%, respectively. A full 13% had no confidence at all, the report said.

“Personalization is only relevant if it accurately assesses and meets customer need—and this is dependent on understanding the personal data shared by consumers,” the report concluded. “Transparency and security in how customer data is collected, used and shared will be mandatory to gain consumer confidence, as will empowering consumers by giving them simple and easy ways to maintain data control.”

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David Bolton
Former ARC Writer
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