How your organization can prove itself trustworthy with data
Modern headlines often warn consumers of cases where well-known businesses experienced data breaches due to hackers or misuse. Then, people get the impression that companies only want their information to benefit from it directly, and they will not take the necessary steps to safeguard it. If that happens, customers may choose to stop doing businesses with companies they don't trust.
Even if people feel they can trust a company, they'll restrict the amount of personal data they can see or access. For example, Amazon and Google are two popular brands that give people above-average control over their collected information. Those who own Amazon smart speakers can see what those gadgets gather. Concerning Google, users can delete the various kinds of information the company has about them or choose how long to keep it.
However, the fewer pieces of data a company has about a person, the harder it likely is for them to do business. It'll be more difficult to understand what customers want or to give them relevant content. If an individual has a high level of trust in a company, though, they'll be more likely to willingly give their info to the business and let the brand retain it.
Here are some things your company can do to prove its data-related trustworthiness.
Be Transparent About How You Use Data
Research shows that 56 percent of respondents usually or always sign up for something without reading the terms and conditions first. That's probably why so many people feel shocked and misled when they find out company representatives read messages the sender only intended for one recipient.
One of the likely reasons why they don't read the details is because the content is often filled with legal jargon people are intimidated by. DuckDuckGo, a privacy-centric search engine, takes a different approach. The explanation it gives about how the company uses data is much easier to understand than most.
Inform Customers of How to Stay in Control of Their Data
It's also ideal if your business has easy-to-access preference settings that let people select what kind of messages they receive from you, how often and through which methods. Enabling customers to make changes to those things helps them feel in control.
Also, make it simple to get to the preferences section. For example, you link to it in the footer of every email. Then, when people submit new preferences, the confirmation message they see should mention how long it'll be before the changes take effect.
Get Help From Legal Professionals Who Understand the Modern Landscape
The modern relationships spearheaded by the internet have started to challenge that traditional distribution structure that prevailed throughout the 20th century. Moreover, the information developed by e-commerce businesses is often as important as the products sold. Sometimes, the information itself is the product. Having a legal team who understands those shifts and the associated data privacy laws will help you avoid associated blunders.
If you make a privacy mistake due to not having the necessary legal advice, it'll be difficult to earn back customer trust. However, if you have legal guidance from the start, the likelihood of eroded customer trust due to not understanding the relevant privacy laws goes down significantly. Plus, having input from legal professionals helps you follow the rules connected to data privacy and consumer information.
When writing company blog posts, you can also make references such as "our legal team advised us on how to update our data collection practices to keep your privacy in mind." Doing that could appease your audience.
Make It Worthwhile for Consumers to Provide Their Information
If it seems like customers give their data to your company and get little or nothing in return, they may become cynical and wonder why you are requesting something like an email address. One thing you can do to ease that potential mistrust is to give people something in return for their data.
One common tactic is to give people coupons or other special offers after they submit their email address or agree to let you send them text messages. Then, they'll feel like you're giving them useful perks in exchange for their information.
Train Your Employees in Customer Data Privacy Essentials
Your company probably gives its workers periodic training about things such as avoiding accidents, staying abreast of new best practices in the industry, understanding how to use new tools or going through company processes. Those topics are undoubtedly important, but your employee education efforts should include material about how to keep data private, too.
Teach them why data privacy matters and recommend how they should respond if customers ask them questions about how the company handles its information. That way, workers should be more prepared to tackle any privacy queries that arise. If your clients think your employees don't know anything about data privacy — or worse, don't care — they likely won't want to relinquish their info to the brand.
Apologize Promptly for Mistakes
Even if you exercise the utmost care when handling customer data, things could still happen that violate their privacy. Some instances may be mostly or wholly outside of your control, such as if they involve third-party contractors. In any case, you should swiftly apologize for any shortcomings concerning customer data or what happened to it.
Choose your words carefully when composing an apology. Always show remorse and accept responsibility as starting points. Next, explain what your company will do to prevent similar incidents from happening again. Finally, take a step that aims to begin repairing the damage caused. For example, you might offer customers a year of free credit monitoring or give them gift cards. These gestures don't make everything right, but they show you care.
Implement a Top-Down Approach to Data Privacy
Besides using the tips above to help customers trust you with their data, remember to take a top-down approach when protecting it. Make it clear to customers that this is a priority at the executive level and downward. If the people at the highest levels of your company support safeguarding customer data, everyone else will feel more encouraged to get on board.