A recent report from The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found Australians 18-34 are “quick to adapt to new technological developments, and use more digital platforms and apps to navigate their worlds.”
COVID-19 has contributed to the rising rates of Australians aged 65 and over migrating online too. According to ACMA, “older Australians have experienced a considerable change in their digital habits. They are engaging in a broader range of online activities, more frequently and across different devices.”
Under this umbrella of digital habits, which range from the social to the financial to the academic, Australians are required to share more and more of their personal and sensitive information to accommodate their online lives. The necessity of conducting personal affairs online, however, has come with caveats: not all businesses are effectively building digital trust to reassure their customers and maintain an engaged customer base.
What is digital trust, and how much of it do Australians possess?
According to GBG’s Digital Trust survey of more than 1,000 consumers, Australians generally lack trust in a range of organisations that request their digital identity profiles, even though they are increasingly dependent on these organisations to conduct their everyday activities.
For example, only 14% of Australians say their trust in sharing personal information would increase if the request came from an established, reputable organisation such as a bank. And yet, overall, there is still an overall higher level of comfort engaging with established businesses, with the survey finding significant proportions are still most comfortable with government websites, services and apps (66%), large banks (55%), and superannuation firms (43%).
The survey also unveiled the key role that COVID-19 has played in the digitisation of everyday financial transactions. It found that 56% of consumers are more likely to pay a bill online than at the start of the pandemic, and a third are more likely to apply for a government service online (33%) or make a cash transfer (32%).
Consumers ranked social media apps (55%), cryptobanks (46%), and wagering and betting companies (40%) as being the least comfortable organisations for sharing their digital identity.
Addressing the competing needs of online life and digital trust
As Australians’ online behaviours continue to evolve in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic — especially the digital identity requirements to verify and authenticate various sensitive financial transactions — establishing and quickly building digital trust with consumers should be a key priority for businesses.
In an opinion piece featured in Business IT last month, Regional General Manager of Australia and New Zealand for GBG, Carol Chris outlined the balance businesses need to strike between enabling Australians to transfer their everyday activities to digital platforms and products, while building trust with consumers as they increasingly need to share their digital identities.
She explained the research “indicates that while many Australians have been willing to utilise digital channels to continue managing their finances, careers, and lifestyles effectively as a result of the restrictions of the pandemic, they may not be fully onboard. Businesses need to be aware that a current or increased demand for services does not necessarily correlate to having acquired customer trust and ongoing customer loyalty”.
The article details why established financial institutions need to match new expectations in customer experience, and the range of online services now available. The growing demand in digital financial services spans online home loans, opening bank accounts remotely, and digitally managing superannuation funds.
“Moving forward,” Chris explained, “getting a greater share of wallet will be increasingly competitive and will require investments in personalised approaches and proactive efforts to build digital trust. To start with, businesses need to focus on effective communications and transparency, as almost one in five Australians would increase their trust in an organisation if they have clear terms and conditions available online that outlines how they will use the customer’s information.”
Another means for organisations to increase digital trust with consumers is to integrate more impactful frontend security measures, which are clear and reassuring for customers. The survey overall underpins the need for simple, safe, and secure identity verification for onboarding and authentication, like the end-to-end digital identity verification offered by GBG.