Trust is one of the most important aspects of business, especially when it comes to the collection and use of people’s personal data. As consumers advocate for organizations to take more precautions in handling their personal data, legislative bodies are listening, and more data privacy regulations are being passed globally each year. Being proactive in complying with, or better yet, staying ahead of regulatory requirements, can be used to your organization’s advantage to drive consumer trust and business opportunities.
This blog will explore consumer concerns regarding personal data, how leveraging data privacy regulations benefits organizations and consumers, and what steps your organization can take to both build data privacy practice and maintain consumer trust.
Consumer distrust is a growing problem
Consumers are becoming more aware and concerned about how their personal data is being used and handled. The following statistics demonstrate the concern and distrust that is developing among consumers:
- 87% of executives think customers highly trust their companies when only about 30% actually do
- 86% of consumers say data privacy is a growing concern
- 75% of executives say that since the pandemic began, they have had a harder time building and maintaining trust with their customers
- 71% of consumers say they’re unlikely to buy if a company loses their trust
- 40% of consumers don’t trust organizations to use their data ethically
- 30% of consumers aren’t willing to share their personal data for any reason
Furthering and validating these concerns in a recent Salesforce study, nearly half of consumers surveyed said they lost trust in brands due to misuse of personal information. Once trust has been broken, more than half (55%) of consumers say they will NEVER give the brand their business again.
Use a proactive approach to complying with privacy regulations
This misuse of personal data has driven consumers to advocate for more precautions to be taken with their personal data, driving the emergence of various privacy regulations globally such as GDPR and CCPA. Cisco’s Consumer Privacy Survey highlights “Consumers want transparency and control with respect to business data practices – an increasing number will act to protect their data”. In order to meet consumer desires regarding the handling of personal data, one of the best things your organization can do is to start protecting consumer’s data right now. This approach shows consumers that you understand their concerns and are taking proactive steps to protecting their data. Rather than simply waiting for a privacy regulation to go into effect, or scrambling to protect personal data only because it is the law, taking early action sends customers a clear message about your organization’s priorities and values.
How to improve your data privacy practice and build consumer trust
Now that we’ve identified how getting a head start on protecting consumer data can be beneficial, let’s explore how to go about implementing this strategy into your organization. An article by Entrepreneur’s Organization for Inc. outlines three ways how you can both improve your privacy practices and build customer trust at the same time regarding personal data:
Map your data
Mapping your data, also known as creating a data inventory, involves following a data record through your system from the point of collection to deletion. Data mapping can help your company understand:
- What types of information are actively collected
- What data is actually being used
- Who the information is shared with and who has access to it
- Where and how long data is being stored
- Where your processes deviate from stated policies
Many companies think they know this information already, but most businesses collect more information than they need, store it too long, and have poor access controls that leave data vulnerable to exposure.
A data map gives you the empirical information you need to recognize and address these issues.
Data classification can assist with data mapping by identifying and categorizing data into set schema, giving you greater visibility of what data you have and where it resides. Alongside the labeling capabilities of data classification, monitoring and reporting modules give your organization further insight into who has access to what data and what they are doing with it.
Set your privacy strategy and policy
A data privacy strategy and policy is crucial to keeping your consumer’s personal data secure. Once you know where the weak points in your processes are, you can start building a new privacy strategy that’s legally compliant and future-proofed against changes to either privacy laws or best practices.
Foundational principles that should be part of any privacy program include:
- Seeking cross-functional input from all your teams
- Maximizing data value while minimizing the amount collected by focusing on first-party data (data collected directly from consumers, as opposed to an outside source such as a paid list)
- Establishing a culture of privacy through continuous employee training
Data classification solutions enable users to assign visual labels to the data they create, collect, and store, so that informed decisions can be taken about how it is managed, protected and shared, both within and outside of your organization. Involving your users in data privacy strategies aids in establishing a culture of privacy, teaching them the value of the data they are handling, and ensuring set privacy strategies and policies are followed.
Brag about it
Almost 76 percent of companies that invest in a robust privacy program see increased loyalty and trust from their customers. But even the best privacy program in the world won’t help you if your customers don’t know about it.
Marketing your business’s commitment to privacy is just as essential to building digital trust as building your privacy program in the first place. Instead of treating privacy as a cost center, weave your commitment into all your messaging until it becomes a key part of your brand’s reputation.
With consumer trust dropping, and the emergence of global data privacy regulations on the rise, it is more important than ever for organizations know what data they have, where it is located, and how it is being used.
Gartner predicts that by the end of 2023, modern privacy laws will cover the personal information of 75% of the world’s population, so why not embrace this trend of privacy regulations to benefit both your organization and your consumers?