As Australian businesses continue to grapple with data security and privacy concerns, they remain on the back foot when it comes to navigating data management amid the rise of AI, according to a new poll conducted by customer engagement platform, Twilio.

The survey shows that over one-third of businesses (34%) say data security is the key issue preventing them from fully leveraging AI. Further, one in two (51%) Australian businesses do not have a clear strategy in managing data in the age of AI.  

“In an era where brands need to move beyond personalisation to individualising the customer experience across multiple channels, they need to be transparent about how they use AI, balancing privacy with enhancing the quality of interactions between brands and consumers,” Twilio vice president of marketing for Asia Pacific and Japan, Nicholas Kontopoulos said.

The poll also highlighted the battle to win over customers weighed down by current cost pressures. The top concerns include the struggle to stay relevant and keep up with changing needs (35%), responding to price sensitivity (34%) and cost of operating customer experience (CX) (22%).

Kontopoulos says AI has significantly improved customer interactions for clients like Trade Me and Marks & Spencer.

New Zealand’s largest online website, Trade Me’s use of AI for predictive modelling in marketing campaigns resulted in a 20% increase in campaign open rates and a 10% boost in click-through rates. This improvement translated into two to three times better ad campaign performance, showcasing AI’s power in transforming customer engagement and marketing effectiveness.

Additionally, Trade Me’s collaboration with Twilio helped the business enhance security by tightening its processes and having governance around who can access user data.

Marks & Spencer’s implementation of an AI-driven contact centre led to remarkable efficiencies. They achieved a 90% accuracy in call routing, improving their response rate and enhancing customer engagement, with a notable reduction in average call times. 

“The interest in and investment in AI for CX are creating new opportunities for brands to enhance customer experiences and drive brand advocacy,” Kontopoulos added.

“As businesses face growing pressures to address data security and operational costs, AI, when used within the confines of a robust privacy framework, can optimise human interactions and reduce redundant manual processes, resulting in better resource utilisation and increased cost efficiency.”