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A study of UK and German consumers by Teradata and Celebrus Technologies has found that 63% of consumers across every age group like to receive individualised communications and more than half (57%) are happy to share personal information with brands. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

The majority of consumers like to receive individual, personalised offers. Some 44% of UK consumers and 50% of 18-24 year olds across both the UK and Germany said that they would purchase from a brand again in response to a positive experience. Interestingly however, in Germany the percentage of consumers that would purchase again drops to 28%.

Making offers more individualised through personalisation also has a measurable impact on revenue, with over 36% of consumers purchasing from that brand again and 27% recommending the brand to family and friends.

While German consumers may be reticent to react to positive experiences, they also tend to be more forgiving of mistakes, with only 17% saying they would not purchase from that brand again, compared to 36% of UK consumers.

Attitudes were much closer however when it came to unsubscribing from a brand's communications following a poor experience, with 32% of German consumers saying they would take this action compared to 35% of UK consumers.

The research also highlighted some clear trends emerging in the types of data that consumers are willing to share, with age and gender being happily shared by the vast majority. Consumers are willing to share information in order to improve the quality of experience, with over half (57%) of consumers happy to share more specific information such as personal preferences - dress size or favourite holiday location - with brands.

The research revealed mixed messages from an increasingly brand-aware consumer base: whilst they recognise the demands from brands for information and the reasons for wanting that data to improve the customer experience, they have valid concerns regarding data privacy. Privacy is a particularly key concern for Germans, with 29% saying that they clear cookies daily and the majority being unhappy with data being shared with third parties. However, with 36% of respondents wanting a brand to know their contact details without having to re-enter them, it is clear that customer expectations are contradictory.

A clear message from the research is that consumers want control over the way that brands interact with them. They want control of the channel - with most preferring to receive promotional material via email; control over time - wanting brands to know and recognise them, not demand the same information constantly; as well as having control over their data.

Other key findings from the report:

  • Over two thirds (67%) of consumers said that they would positively interact with a brand in response to a positive personalised experience.
  • Personalisation has a measurable impact on revenue, with over a third of consumers (36%) purchasing from that brand again following a positive experience.
  • If done badly, personalisation can have a damaging impact on a brand with 77% of consumers insisting they would take action in response.
  • 60% of UK consumers are happy to share data about how they interact with a brand's website.
  • 32% of consumers agreed that they would trust the Retail Banking sector with their data, with Telco companies in second place at 25%.
  • 54% of consumers are uncomfortable with receiving communications from third parties they have not registered with.
  • Over half (57%) of consumers are happy to share personal information such as personal preferences - dress size or favourite holiday location - with brands.
  • Personalised brand communications were most viewed as helpful by consumers aged 18-24 (79%) with the overall figure being 63% and the lowest 52% for those aged 55-64.

"It is clear from the research that consumers are more likely to interact with those brands who treat customers as individuals and get it right. Such treatment improves their experience, therefore they are more likely to buy from the brand again and recommend them to friends," said Ruth Gordon, director of digital marketing for Teradata International. "It is also clear that when done badly, consumers would move to a competitor or share their poor experience, negatively impacting sales and brand reputation. In addition, consumers need to feel in control and brands must ensure that personalised experiences comply with customer preferences."

"The research has highlighted some interesting viewpoints and differences in opinion between the UK and Germany. In order to persuade consumers to part with more 'sensitive' information, brands must build trust, act sensitively with the information that consumers have shared, and treat each customer as an individual," concluded added Katharine Hulls, VP marketing for Celebrus Technologies. "In order to enable brands to deliver the quality of experience expected by the customer, brands must combine detailed customer behaviour across all touch-points with customer preferences, and using insight and analytics to make every communication and interaction relevant to the consumer. Those that get it right will reap considerable rewards."