Do your customers trust you with their data?

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is a hot topic. Coming into force May 2018, it brings a huge change on how businesses hold and handle their customers’ data. And when over 90% of people report that they have no idea what companies do with the personal information, you can see why these legislation changes might have come about.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) conducted a survey in late 2016 to review attitudes to data treatment. They received some shocking results. Of the 2500 surveyed:

  • 92% do not understand how personal information is used
  • 57% do not trust organisations to use data responsibly
  • 51% say their data is misused
  • 16% always read the terms and conditions (T&Cs)

With so much uncertainty around data, and with so much change in the making, how can you alter opinion and make your customers hold your data handling in high regard?

Get your business up to speed

The buck stops with you. So make sure you know what you’re doing. Many online resources can help you update your knowledge. Sites like getsafeonline.org, offer a good overview of the current legislation. And once you know what you’re doing, you need to make sure the rest of the people in your business do to.

Of course, handling data can quickly become a big task. For businesses of a certain size, or particularly data focused by nature, a Data Protection Officer may be needed to keep your business running true.

Review your policy in Plain English

There is an interesting connection between the amount of doubt around how firms handle customer data, and the 16% of people surveyed that say they always read the T&Cs. Surely if everyone read the T&Cs there would be no doubt right? When was the last time you read your T&Cs?

The truth is that T&Cs often sit in a forgotten corner of a website, or come printed in fine print at the back of a brochure. They are simply not fit for purpose. They’re written in legalese to appease the legally minded and are rarely written for the customer, creating more fear, doubt and uncertainty.

Strive for transparency

There’s a lot of confusion regarding data. You can make your business stand out by breaking some of that confusion down. Be straight with people and tell them exactly how you use the information they trust you with. And take the opportunity to articulate the benefits they will reap from your use of their data. Better recommendations, more relevant offers and more timely instructions.

Treasure your data and keep it safe

If you do store customer data you need to keep it safe. Data breaches can be crippling to both business operations and reputations. Making sure you have the proper protection in place to prevent the theft of your customers’ data should, be high on your list of priorities.

And even the most robustly secured technology can still fall foul of the advanced persistent threat. So consider adding in another layer of protection with cyber liability insurance, helping you to put things right should things go wrong.

CIM – Whose data is it anyway?