According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, technology businesses are currently the most trusted organizations in the world. Why is this? Could it simply be because tech companies are perceived to be capable of handling customer data better than any other sector?
We all, customers included, understand that the oil in today’s digital economy is data. They also understand that organizations collect it from more devices, and more frequently than ever. They also know the rising value of data — this poses both risks and opportunities for brands around the world.
While customers recognize the need to divulge personal information if they want to participate in today’s economy, they also expect the organizations who are collecting this data to be transparent and fully accountable for its use. Brands that behave counter to this, or use personal information in ways that are deemed inappropriate or surprising, suffer tremendously in terms of reputation, potential legal costs, and ultimately a reduction in previously hard won trust among their customer base.
With trust as the central element to any authentic two-way commercial relationship, this becomes the deciding factor as to whether customers willingly provide their sensitive personal information as part of engagement or purchase.
Deloitte’s 2018 Privacy Index asked 1,000 Australians what data they provided to brands in return for goods and services, as well as which factors influenced their decision to share personal information. Unsurprisingly, trust was the most critical factor. And when asked what erodes this trust the fastest, the most cited reason was using personal data for direct sales or inappropriate marketing. That's right - when using data for purposes for which it was not intended or stated clearly up front.
Transparency is key
It seems that even a data breach can be managed in a way that avoids brand erosion, if a culture of openness is in place. While theft of personal details may have been a deal breaker a decade ago, these days 76% of consumers say they would be more likely to trust a brand if there was a timely notification of the breach, a detailed explanation of the cause, and remediation plans, as well as ongoing announcements on progress. Download this ebook for tips.
The same goes for ensuring customers are aware of exactly which data they’re sharing and where.
Another global study by consumer data firm Frog Design surveyed consumers to see if they knew that their online behavior can be tracked even without their explicit permission. Only 26% of people realized that their social media platforms track their online activity, while only 14% were aware that their web search history is often tracked.
This is a threat — and an opportunity — for every brand.
However, you can be sure that these numbers will rise quickly. As customers become more aware of how their data is handled, more individuals will be placing the application, security, and privacy practices around such data as a number one priority when deciding whom to do business with.
Ensuring that your prospective and current customers know exactly what data you track and why, and having a process in place to protect that sensitive data in the first place (such as using data masking during application development and live testing, for example), will go a long way towards building trust with customers, and therefore maintaining the flow of data into your applications as required by your business.
If you’d like to see how adopting an enterprise Postgres system such as Fujitsu Enterprise Postgres can help you better manage sensitive customer data going forward, click here to make an enquiry or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.