Brands are being warned they face an unprecedented dearth of customer data unless they refocus on building mutually beneficial relationships, following the publication of a tracking study which shows consumers are growing increasingly reluctant to share any personal data at all.
The survey, which quizzed more than 2,500 UK-based consumers about their data sharing concerns and habits, was first published by St Ives owned CRM agency Amaze One in 2016.
At the time, 10% of people said they actively shared no information requested by brands. According to the 2017 research, this figure has risen to 14%. If this trend is repeated over the next 12 months, around a fifth of consumers will refuse to part with their personal details by 2018.
This is on top of the third of consumers (32%) who are currently reluctant to share more than their name and email address, according to the research, making meaningful relationships virtually impossible.
Amaze One insists the findings of the report – entitled “Rediscover the R in CRM” – expose the wider communications complications facing businesses across all sectors, with the advent of GDPR set to hamper the collection and use of data for CRM.
However, the report also outlines the positive effects great CRM can have on business, and offers advice on how to implement successful strategies that acknowledge customer concerns, and give people more of what they want.
Other key findings include the fact that customers are anxious because they don’t know what companies do with their data. In addition, less than half are aware of how their personal data is collected and used, with 44% feeling more concerned about their data privacy than in last year’s survey.
Meanwhile, 70% of customers feel “out of control” in terms of their ownership, and organisations’ use of, their data; a third of respondents claimed they were “not at all in control”.
When it comes to what consumers what, some 56% value trust and transparency most highly in a relationship with brands, with this figure rising to 86% among people aged over 35.
In total, 70% of customers like offers tailored using data from past purchases and the majority of respondents (67%) prefer email as a communication channel.
Amaze One principal planner Julie Neilson said: “Our insight shows how customers’ sentiments towards the use of their data have significantly shifted from being ‘ignorant and not bothered’, to ‘unaware and anxious’.
“Businesses have had access to an abundance of data for decades. However, a combination of the future effects of GDPR on data volumes, and the mistakes of the past which have led to people being ill-at-ease sharing their information, could have a damaging and long-lasting effect on CRM-based organisations.
“By understanding how customers view their relationship, however, they can start to forge meaningful relationships with them. In other words, brands can recapture the true, mutually beneficial spirit of CRM.”
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