Every business wants to gather as much data as they can on their customers to improve their products and services. It is natural that they should track how changes to their website resulted in people staying longer, and buying more, on that website, but it is the personal information tied to each identifiable individual where the debate on corporate behaviour rages. The topic of customer data and personal data breaches is never far away from headlines in the media, and that means awareness has never been so high (and trust never been so low) amongst consumers. Widespread knowledge that millions/billions of records have been leaked on the dark web resulted in some startling findings from the survey of 1,000 consumers in the US and Canada:
- 87% said they would not do business with a company if they had concerns about its security practices.
- 71% said they would stop doing business with a company if it gave away sensitive data without permission.
- Approximately 50% said they are more likely ‘to trust a company that asks only for information relevant to its products or that limits the amount of personal information requested’. (It makes us believe the company is being careful)
- 50% are more likely ‘to trust companies that react quickly to hacks and breaches or actively disclose such incidents to the public’. (Transparency is an advantage compared to those who attempt to bury bad news).
Companies are fast realising that it is their responsibility to be more public facing and positive in sharing the efforts they take to protect personal data. Every company invests in cyber-security defences to keep hackers out of the corporate IT and should report on that area more openly. There is also advantages to be gained in NOT feeding the data cycle by selling/sharing that personal data without the transparent and informed consent of the consumer.
They know they have to comply with consumer friendly regulations like GDPR, but should turn that ‘defensive’ mindset into a more positive one by sharing their plans and efforts in this area and show the world that they are a good corporate citizen. Their customers should understand when and why their data is needed by the company and the trust issue can be used positively as it becomes part of the value proposition of a company. (‘Great service, competitive prices and respect for your personal data’.)