Consumers in Australia and New Zealand expect more than their global counterparts, according to new research from Adobe. But they are also concerned about the threat technology poses to privacy, according to the study.

The two findings, part of Adobe’s “Experience Index”, suggest marketers are walking a fine line in balancing privacy and personalisation, with the added consequence, according to the research, that younger generations are particularly vocal online about bad experiences.

The software giant polled 1,000 ANZ consumers on their experiences in several industries as part of its global survey. The results suggest Australian consumers, while expecting a great experience, really just want to get things done and expect organisations to protect their data. Some freebies don’t hurt either.

Based on Adobe’s scale consumers rated potential customer experiences on a continuum from neutral (I would expect this) to strongly positive (this would delight me) and those scores were converted to a scale from 0-100 — consumers are most impressed with online retailers providing samples as part of their loyalty program (score of 61), automated hotel settings and preferences on arrival (55) and using mobile apps as hotel keys and no need for check-ins (55).

At the other end of the scale consumers are most annoyed and even angry at a lack of return policy, hidden fees and no cancellation options.

Across all industries, Australian customers indicated brands were relatively good at providing access to content but struggled to anticipate their customers’ information. Neither retail, travel and hospitality, media or financial services made a passing grade in that regard.

Overall, Australian and New Zealand consumers had the highest experience expectations in the world, Adobe says, while France and India have the lowest.

Privacy problems

Another finding sticks out and sits awkwardly with what Adobe says is a demand for personalisation and delightful experiences delivered through technology: 72 per cent of consumers agreed with the statement “Technology today puts private information at risk”. Only 7 per cent disagree.

Source: Adobe, AU/NZ Consumer Experience Expectations Survey 2019.

Nearly two thirds of consumers (64 per cent) agreed automation is going to eliminate too many jobs, with just 12 per cent disagreeing. The concerns about the impact of automation are highest in younger consumers. Less than half of those polled aged 50 or above said they thought automation will eliminate too many jobs.

Bad review

Locally many brands are struggling to meet the high watermark and younger generations in particular are increasingly airing their grievances online, according to Adobe.

18 to 34-year-olds are more than twice as likely as their older counterparts to complain about a bad experience on a review site or social media. Around 40 per cent of consumers said they had told friends or family following a bad customer experience, with slightly higher rates in consumer over 35.

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