4 ways to keep customer trust over the holidays

4 ways to keep customer trust over the holidays


By David Duncan, VP of security marketing, CA Technologies

Everything is about the customer experience — in fact, 83 percent of U.S. customers say having a positive customer experience with a brand is more important than the product itself. And, unfortunately, there is more than one way a customer can have a bad experience.

We've all experienced this: you have a very particular gift in mind, so you start searching online for what you want. At the top of the search results is a website that looks like what you want, but the site requires that you spend time creating a unique account, enter a lot of personal information, create a complicated password and provide your credit card information. It feels wrong. The experience doesn't meet today's online standards. So, you head straight to instead.

There is a level of digital trust that any online retailer needs to be successful. If businesses want to gain — and keep — their customers' trust (and compete with the giants of online retail) this holiday season, they need to avoid the most common pitfalls we see digital retailers make, and take these steps:

Reduce the ask for personal information. If you ask for too much personal user information for marketing, expect to see a high shopping cart abandon rate. Consumers worldwide are choosing to buy from businesses that have easy-to-understand (and non-invasive) privacy policies. In Europe, customers have a right to be informed about privacy policies in a simple, easy to understand way. Businesses and online retailers will be fined substantially starting in 2018 if they don't adhere to the new General Data Privacy Regulations (GDPR).

Trust isn't just about keeping customer data safe, it's also about using it the right way. An HSBC survey found 41 percent of customers were unhappy about the amount of information being asked of them, and 32 percent were unsure as to how the data would be used.

Reduce the friction. How you design the ways a customer engages with your brand can make or break their experience—and your bottom line. Steve Jobs once said, "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."

Login Radius found that when customers are presented with the option to sign in socially, and the option to use email registration, they opted for social login. In short, don't ask users to create another account in a long list of user names and passwords that they already have to maintain. Leverage federated identities (like a social login) to make it easier to authenticate the user.

According to Adobe, 60 percent of companies surveyed reported an increase the budget dedicated to customer experience. More than a user interface, designing for experiences extends beyond functionality and actually elicits an emotion — a feeling of satisfaction leading to the desire to do it again. The challenge is understanding and delivering the right user experience at a high volume under rapid growth.

Make it personal. Leveraging technology like Account Based Marketing and User Risk Analytics creates a familiar and engaging user experience. It allows companies to confirm who the user is and recommend potential items for purchase. This level of familiarity improves brand loyalty and online purchases, and allows you to seamlessly control the risk of the interaction. In fact, businesses that use advanced analytics to build behavioral profiles for risk control sawa 25 percent reduction in online fraud.

As customers' expectations evolve, businesses need to tap both internal and external data to better understand customer needs. Sourcing insights from unstructured data, time series data and relational stores. “Big data” analytics also offer high-value processing capabilities--like pattern recognition and anomaly detection--to ensure the best customer experience.

Stay out of the data breach limelight. The biggest cost of a significant data breach isn't notification and credit monitoring costs — it's loss of brand loyalty. In the internet economy, switching costs are low. Customers can find all of your competitors with a simple online query. Keep your security airtight and protect your users.

A 2016 report revealed 59 percent of internet users said they were unlikely to engage in a business transaction with a company that had suffered a data breach. A recent study showed that data breaches can cost retailers $172 per record and that the average cost of a single hack stands at a staggering $4 million. And, a recent Twitter poll showed that the majority of users will show online preference for a vendor that displays third party online trust certification marks as part of the online shopping experience.

In closing

With holiday shopping expected to top $1 trillion of sales and retail ecommerce sales expected to jump 16.6 percent during the 2017 holiday season,handling the tidal wave that e-commerce platforms see during the holidays is all about having a truly solid strategy in place beforehand that takes advantage of the power of data, understands that security protocols are constantly evolving and values all the pieces that make up the customer experience. All of your competitors have the same hurdles during the holidays—it's just about making it to the finish line faster.

Topics: Consumer Behavior, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Data Security

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