SAP survey reveals breaching data trust and slow service response drive away U.S. customers

  • 71 percent of U.S. respondents said they were willing to part with certain information
  • 79 percent said they would leave a retailer if personal data is used without their knowledge
  • 87 percent said they expect service responses within 24 hours

According to "The Global 2017 SAP Hybris Consumer Insights Report," a survey sponsored by SAP SE (NYSE: SAP), online brands must respect consumers' data privacy if they want to build strong U.S. customer relationships. They must also offer discounts and respond to queries within 24 hours. The survey of 1,000 U.S. respondents uncovered how consumers feel about issues related to online shopping, including data collection, privacy and customer response.

Consumers Expect a Give-and-Take Relationship with Brands
Recognizing that U.S. consumers value convenience - 58 percent said this was their chief reason for shopping online - retailers are trying to improve the digital experience by learning more about customers through data collection. While 71 percent of respondents said they are willing to part with information, such as e-mail addresses and shopping history, they are less likely to provide their mobile number, real-time location or monthly income. In return for the data they do share, consumers expect retailers to:

  • Protect their interests (72 percent)
  • Be transparent in how they use personal data (66 percent)
  • Protect their privacy in the event of criminal investigations (60 percent)

Once consumers have shared personal data with their regularly visited online retailer, they expect a certain level of service in return as well. About 87 percent of respondents said they expect customer service to respond within 24 hours, while 20 percent said they expect a response within an hour.

Consumers also expect personalized, exclusive experiences. A majority of respondents (61 percent) chose receiving surprise perks and discounts as their preferred personalized experience. They said they appreciate receiving responses from retailers who have a full understanding of their history (53 percent), relevant product recommendations (43 percent) and value-added services (42 percent).

"The need for a strong customer relationship has been recognized in multiple industries, especially in retail, where consumers have an increasing number of options to choose from," said Matthias Goehler, senior vice president and head of SAP Hybris solutions at SAP. "To meet shopper needs, leading retailers are embracing business models that deliver a customer-centric culture in every department, not just sales and service. A single view of a customer's profile, fueled with real-time insights, equips all employees to engage contextually and meaningfully with customers, so they feel the appreciation, no matter whom they talk to."

Winning Consumers Over Takes Time, But Losing Them Is Easy
If a retailer breaches the mutual trust and respect it has built with a shopper, the relationship will be immediately damaged. Study results found that consumers often will leave a brand if their personal data is used without their knowledge (79 percent). Just as harmful to the relationship is unresponsiveness to customer service queries and requests and receiving messages that are not relevant to the customer.

However, there is leeway in the consumer-retailer relationship. Half of the respondents said they were willing to give a retailer a second and third chance, with 50 percent abandoning brand loyalty only after the same mistake was made more than twice. Certain brand actions, such as sending too many marketing and sales e-mails, will begin to alienate a customer, with 61 percent of respondents saying they found this irritating.

For more information on this study, download the full report and view the infographic . See international results for comparison here.