72% of consumers ‘concerned their data is misused’
It is more important than ever for businesses to align their ethics and values with those of their customers and be upfront about the use of personal data, a new study has found.
The research, conducted by telecommunications company TollFreeForwarding.com, asked 2,000 American consumers how businesses can secure their loyalty. When compared to data from 2019, it found that consumers place far more importance on social issues in 2021, with 76% saying a brand supporting workers’ rights was important to them in 2021, compared to only 44% in 2019. Environmental responsibility (74%), animal testing (68%), and local community initiatives (66%) also topped the list of causes today’s consumer cares about.
Additionally, US consumers are willing to pay more in a range of sectors if the brand’s values are closely aligned with their own. In consumer loyal industries, including supermarkets, tech, and clothing, customers were willing to pay up to a third (34%) more to support a brand whose values closely aligned with their own.
The study also asked which perks make customers more likely to purchase from a brand, finding that customers want to feel as though they’re getting more for their money through discount codes and loyalty programs. It found the top 5 factors likely to drive business for a brand are:
1. Good customer service – 84% more likely 2. Discount codes – 79% more likely 3. Loyalty program – 75% more likely 4. Free gifts – 74% more likely 5. Improved ethics – 70% more likely 6. Additionally, personalized extras such as birthday emails make consumers 61% more likely to purchase from a brand, with a further three quarters (74%) saying they want marketing communications from brands to be personalized to them.
However, despite wanting personalization, the sharing of personal data is something consumers remain wary about. When asked what was most likely to put them off using a brand, the misuse of data came out top.
1. If I felt they misused my data – 54% 2. If they stored information on me I didn’t deem relevant – 41% 3. Being sent offers that are not relevant – 35% 4. Over communication – 33% 5. Brands failing to recognize you as an existing customer – 33%
Over three quarters (77%) said they want control over the data that brands store on them, while 72% are concerned their data is being overused. Furthermore, over 6 in 10 (64%) said they think brands should pay them for the use of their data.
Jason O’Brien, COO of TollFreeForwarding.com said of the findings: “When it comes to the key drivers of repeat business, simple good customer service came out top, with customers also wanting to feel they’re getting more for their money through discount codes and loyalty programs. However, the misuse of data is something that consumers are increasingly anxious about.
“Despite most consumers wanting personalized brand communications, they’re wary about how their data is being used, with over half (54%) saying they would stop using a brand if they felt their personal data was being misused. This shows the increasing need for a brand to be completely transparent with consumers about how and why their personal data is being used, so trust and loyalty can be maintained.”