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Twilio: 40% of Businesses Struggle to Balance Security and Customer Experience

While businesses continue to make progress in implementing artificial intelligence (AI) to power customer interactions, a lack of customer data continues to provide serious challenges for progress, new research from Twilio, the customer engagement platform, has revealed.

A fifth annual State of Customer Engagement report from Twilio highlights the growing importance of brands disclosing how they use customer data to deliver AI-powered experiences, as well as a disconnect between brands and their customers on this transparency.

Although 93 per cent of UK brands say they’re transparent with customers about how AI uses their data, only 40 per cent of customers agree.

The report, based on a global survey across 18 countries of more than 4,750 B2C executives and 6,300 consumers, explores how brands are implementing AI to build better relationships with their customers, where AI is yielding the most return on investment for brands, and what engagement trends are most important to consumers.

Trust is most effectively maintained by balancing security and customer experience. Twilio found that 64 per cent of UK consumers think protecting their data is the top way for brands to earn their trust. Around 49 per cent of consumers globally also said they would trust a brand more if it disclosed how customer data is used in AI-powered interactions.

Kathryn Murphy, SVP of product at Twilio, AI data
Kathryn Murphy, SVP of product at Twilio

Kathryn Murphy, SVP of product at Twilio, explained: “Customers today expect personalised experiences and want to understand how businesses use their data to shape those experiences. It’s imperative for brands to be clear about how they use AI, ensuring that they balance how they deploy it with equally robust measures to protect customer privacy. Transparency is not optional — it’s a critical component of building and maintaining customer trust and loyalty.”

However, 40 per cent of businesses, think finding this balance between security and customer experience is one of their most pressing challenges this year.

Personalisation remains a priority for consumers

AI is helping close the customer experience gap, but businesses are still struggling with having the right data in place. Twenty-seven per cent of UK businesses say they provide ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ customer engagement, yet only nine per cent of UK consumers agree.

AI is helping, with almost seven in 10 UK companies already using it to personalise customer experiences – but 69 per cent of UK brands say inaccurate data or a lack of first-party data are major challenges to their ability to understand their customers. Just 19 per cent of businesses globally strongly agree they have a comprehensive profile of their customers.

Customers spend more if they have a personalised experience, and are likely to go elsewhere if a brand doesn’t offer it. Forty-seven per cent of UK consumers are likely to spend more money with a brand that is personalising engagement, compared to those who are not.

Meanwhile, 45 per cent have made a repeat purchase from a company based on the level of personalisation they’ve received, with 78 per cent giving up on a brand entirely if their experiences aren’t personalised.

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