An initiative aimed at empowering people to access new services built on responsible data sharing has recently announced its results, revealing that companies could help the UK public create over half a billion pound in savings over the next five years.
Datum Future, a cross-industry forum and ‘do-tank’ which aims to advance a people-first data economy, teamed up with Sandbox founders Experian, Meta, Publicis Group, and BNP Paribas to examine what makes better customer experiences. The Customer Journey Sandbox prototype focused on the way that data can be used to solve problems for people and society whilst creating business benefits unlocked deep within insights from consumers.
Through more responsible data sharing, the Sandbox showed potential savings of up to £563m over five years for up to 1.4 million UK households.
Building Confidence in Personal Data Use Essential
As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite here in the UK and around the world, understanding where cost savings can be made is proving vital – for both society and business.
The Sandbox was able to demonstrate opportunities to craft a buzzing data economy that delivers novel services for customers. It showed that trusted customer journeys would produce tangible value, with companies able to address people’s needs, generate efficiencies, and build loyalty. Not only would customers save money, the business would enjoy greater revenue streams, too.
Central to the success of the Sandbox initiative was the opportunity data portability offers businesses. If people can take the personal data they share with one business and move it to another, regulators could promote greater competition and new, more efficient services for consumers would arise.
This would be especially useful for those who are struggling to make ends meet. The Sandbox explored a Poverty Premium use case, where those in poverty pay more for essential products and services because they are unable to find a cheaper option – or pay more upfront to receive a discount.
The researchers wanted to understand how data could help these people to make greater savings. In particular, the Sandbox tested people’s willingness to access new services to address their needs in a way that gave them meaningful value, control, convenience, and transparency while only asking for data that was relevant and proportionate.
It showed that by treating people ethically and with empathy, especially those suffering from a Poverty Premium, you can help build confidence in data sharing so that individuals can benefit more from it. It also demonstrated that businesses must meet both the emotional and functional needs of consumers to build confidence. Namely, they must address security, fraud fears, hassle, and invasiveness concerns when it comes to customers dealing with businesses.
The Sandbox prototype helped allay these concerns. Built in an app setting, it allowed 18-35 year olds on Universal Credit to receive benefits such as discounts and payment flexibility on essential utilities and telecoms services. They could do this by sharing information and positive attributes about themselves to demonstrate their eligibility for benefits. Consumers enjoyed the financial reward, but they also liked having a “one stop shop” for all their utility and telecoms bills to help them manage their costs in one place.
Of those surveyed, 73% were interested in taking part. If the Sandbox was adopted in the mainstream, its impact over five years could be savings of £343m for consumers, £142m for businesses, and £78m for society.
While UK savings of over half a billion pounds is a good starting point, analysis of third-party studies suggests that a well-working data ecosystem has the potential to deliver between £7bn and £18bn of economic benefits in the UK.
“Datum Future’s Customer Journey Sandbox demonstrates that enabling explicit ethical use of data and rebuilding trust in the process is a clear opportunity and urgent business imperative.”
Chief Product Officer, Publicis Groupe
The Sandbox’s Key Principles
The Sandbox revealed that customers will be more willing to behave in a certain way if they feel they are being offered what they need. The Sandbox identified five key principles for achieving this:
1. Demonstrate Responsibility
Act ethically with a duty of care towards customers and with their needs in mind
2. Act Transparently
Be honest and clear about what you are asking customers to do and why
3. Give Real Control
Give customers real choices, where they have the chance to say no
4. Make It Convenient
Make your products and services easy to access and use
5. Provide Real Value
Give customers the benefit they want
Modelled on these principles, the prototype showed that when businesses treat people ethically and with empathy, they will be more willing to share their data.
Commenting on this, Ben Silcox, Chief Product Officer, Publicis Groupe, said: “Datum Future’s Customer Journey Sandbox demonstrates that enabling explicit ethical use of data and rebuilding trust in the process is a clear opportunity and urgent business imperative.
“Partnering with real people, being inclusive and applying customer-centred design principles are the starting points. Driving clear business value in your company’s data innovation strategy across the organisation is fundamental. Deriving benefits from data quality, sales growth, speed of innovation and customer retention are clear competitive advantages which businesses are urged to consider.”
But these issues aren’t merely something for businesses to look at alone. Regulators within the UK and EU are now looking to address challenges around data portability, interoperability, and consent mechanisms. Working collaboratively with industry and other key stakeholders to create seamless, secure customer experiences will now prove vital to enable the types of data services that the Sandbox prototype demonstrated – and customers so clearly want.
Wider Application for the Findings of the Prototype
Rimma Perelmuter, Executive Director at Datum Future, was positive about how the Sandbox findings could be applied further afield. “The Sandbox findings show significant opportunities to shape a vibrant, people-first data economy that is ethical and inclusive, with advantages for people, business, and society.
“Harnessing the power of data through stakeholder and cross-sector collaboration is already helping to tackle some of the world’s most challenging issues such as decarbonisation, mental well-being and the creation of smart cities.”
Meanwhile, Jon Roughley, Global Head of Data Exchange at Experian, said: “The Datum Future Customer Journey Sandbox reveals that if we’re going to unlock the societal and business benefits of data sharing, we need strong collaboration. Not only at a cross sector level but also with civil society and regulators – to drive access and affordability for underserved communities. This promising way of working will position the UK at the forefront of smart data empowerment and innovation.”