With increasing reports of data breaches and misuse of data, people are understandably wary about trusting companies with their personal information. In fact, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 79% of consumers are concerned about how companies use the data they collect, and more than half of consumers don’t feel well-informed about what companies plan to do with that data.
As a tech company, building trust with your customers regarding personal data use is pivotal. That’s why we asked a panel of Forbes Technology Council members how you can establish that trust with your customer base. Here are their top recommendations.
1. Prioritize Transparency
Companies should become more transparent about the ways they are storing and using consumers’ data and allow them to easily change their status and/or remove themselves from a company’s database. General Data Protection Regulation for EU citizens and the California Consumer Privacy Act for California citizens are two privacy-oriented regulations that are part of a global effort to make companies handle our personal data with respect. – Boaz Shunami, Komodo Cyber Security LTD
2. Shift Data Power To Consumers
It is a given that tech companies should implement robust cybersecurity controls to protect consumer data. This by itself will not guarantee customer confidence. Tech companies have to provide consumers control over their personal data through an intuitive portal. Consumers should be able to define who it can be shared with. They should be able to see their data and make changes as required. – Vinod Vasudevan, Paladion
3. Provide Increased Visibility And Frictionless Data Management
2020 will be the year when the public starts to understand the implicit tradeoff we all make when we click “Approve” on terms-of-service agreements. Increased visibility into how our data is being used and sold will force federal privacy legislation. Companies that provide transparency and enable frictionless ways for consumers to manage their data will be the winners in the coming decade. – Michael Keithley, United Talent Agency
4. Help Consumers Understand Your Business Goals
Be transparent about how you’re going to be using consumer data. We understand that all businesses need to make money somehow and sometimes, free products monetize off of consumer data. For example, interests or buying habits might be used for targeted advertising. Don’t hide it. Instead, foster open communication and help consumers understand—they might appreciate the transparency! – Ryan Chan, UpKeep Maintenance Management
5. Expose Your Culture
I think once companies expose their culture there’s a sense of trust with consumers. Remember, once the consumer is educated and ingrained in the culture and the culture is developed for the customer, the customer will then feel empowered and trusted to be able to maneuver through what they want and protect their data if they so choose. – WaiJe Coler, InfoTracer
6. Inspire Trust With Your Marketing
All of your marketing should subtly inspire trust in consumers. For instance, in an email marketing message, you can remind consumers how their data is being used. These subtle reminders will help consumers trust your company with their data and demonstrate to them that your business is transparent and authentic. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
7. Nail Down Your Consent Management And Data Privacy Policies
When it comes to consumer engagement around personal data, the combination of transparency and control earns trust. Visibility into what is known, clearly stated policies on how it is used and access to tools that can control and change consent related to the data are essential. With CCPA and GDPR, companies are being held more accountable, and I believe it will be a forcing function to the above. – Charles Manning, Kochava
8. Implement Strong Password Requirements And Multiple Security Questions
With all the headlines about how tech companies collect and share personal data, it’s no surprise that consumers are growing wary about privacy. The key is to illustrate to customers that their data is safe and prove that no one has access to their data other than those who are needed to process their transactions. Passwords and multiple security questions are a great way to demonstrate this to clients. – Anna Frazzetto, Harvey Nash
9. Make It Easy To Opt Out
Due to events like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the bonds of trust have been shattered between tech companies and their users. To make amends, tech organizations must clearly and openly communicate with users about how data is collected, stored and kept private. This type of transparency and the option to opt out of services are crucial to rebuilding trust. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC
10. Make Customer-Centric Decisions About Privacy And Security
Businesses can build customer trust by making customer-centric decisions about their privacy and security operations. This can include building a dedicated internal privacy organization, much like what happened when cybersecurity began to overwhelm IT. They should also choose trustworthy data partners, train all employees on privacy and discard customer data elements that are no longer needed. – Rob Eleveld, Ekata Inc.
11. Be Proactive And Prepared
Address consumer concerns before they ask in a user-friendly way. If you are proactive and show your company has already thought of all possible scenarios at the get-go, good or bad, your consumers will likely be much more comfortable with the idea of sharing their data. Remember these are real people putting their trust in your company to protect them and to honor that trust. – Kison Patel, DealRoom