"Engaging" Survey is About Building Trust
When Infosys last week planned to release its comprehensive survey, Engaging Digital Consumers, we could not have predicted that issues of privacy on the Internet would be front-page news across the globe.
Because of the provocative actions of an American government contractor, however, the survey's results have become very timely. Infosys polled 5,000 Web savvy adults in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Germany to probe their digital relationship to the retail, banking, and healthcare companies that serve them.
The big picture is that consumers are generally OK with providing companies with personal information if they think they're getting something in return. It might be a special deal or update - whatever. They just don't want information gathering to be for nought.
Not surprisingly, Engaging Digital Consumers has received wide attention. The columns in mainstream publications such as BusinessWeek and USA Today bring to the forefront the very nature of trust in the digital age: how companies and governments earn it and how consumers measure it.
Businesses are waking up to the realization that making sense of mountains of new data takes work. And customers remain a very human part of the endeavor. For example, most people won't get in a huff when they learn their banks analyze past transactions to form profiles of them - especially if they think doing so means greater protection from identity thieves.
The survey shows they're less comfortable when banks solicit them directly for information. The aim of directly questioning people might be the same: to build consumer profiles. But banks don't want customers to view data mining as an interrogation.
Part of the challenge for enterprises is that technology is evolving at such a rapid pace. Companies in the banking, retail, and healthcare sectors are looking to stay ahead of the curve, especially when it concerns building long-lasting relationships with their customers. The scope depends on the client. Consider the fact that 92% of consumers believe physicians should have their medical history available electronically during an appointment, yet only 42% are willing to share that information in the first place. Talk about a gap that needs fixing. Retail is perhaps the most cut-and-dried industry vertical covered in the survey. The more information customers provide, the more access they get to private sales, special offers, and discounts. Our partnerships with some of the world's most successful retailers have underscored how critical it is to engage with consumers and establish an online culture of trust.