Is Anything More Important Than Customer Trust?

A few weeks ago, we published a post about CISPA and the important conversations happening right now around customer privacy. The debate isn’t limited to the US, either; in the EU, the “Right to be Forgotten” act is creating some hoops to jump through for data-rich giants like Google.

Because Teradata Applications is in the business of helping brands engage with their customers, we recognize the importance of treating data with integrity and respect. And as one of the world’s most ethical companies we strive to be worthy of that “trusted advisor” status.

Virtually all companies capture data on potential and existing customers, yet if you haven’t been crystal clear with them on how that information will be used, you may be doing damage to how you’re perceived externally – and creating headaches for your internal teams as a result . . . all of which ultimately impacts the customer experience.

Here are some tips on how your brand can nurture and assure consumer trust any time, but especially now, when privacy is on everyone’s minds:

  • Make a statement. The DMA’s Privacy Statement clearly outlines how DMA-affiliated companies should use—and NOT use—consumer information. If members place the DMA privacy logo on their websites, they’re indicating adherence with the DMA standard and making themselves accountable to the DMA if they fail to meet that standard.Want to take a page from that same playbook? Tell your customers every chance you get (whether they’re making a purchase or simply signing up for your newsletter) that you will protect their information, that you won’t share it, and that you won’t use it for any inappropriate purposes or any purpose you haven’t already made clear. You can publish that statement in different places or simply link to it in any information forms.
  • Make list sharing opt-in only. If you’d like to engage in cross-promotions and share your customer information with a company that has products or services you think your customers might enjoy, make sure you request their permission to do so and only share information provided by customers who opt in. By asking first, you allow consumers to show their trust in your brand.
  • Don’t collect what you don’t need. If a piece of information doesn’t enable you to serve your customers better, don’t ask for it. Keep requests to the bare minimum, and they’ll be far more likely to comply. An example: If you want someone to sign up for promotional emails from you, there’s no need to request their home address and phone number, too. Would that information be nice to have it? Sure. Will you lose more people up front as a result of overstepping? Possibly. Why take the risk? Make such fields optional, or omit them altogether.
  • Act with integrity . . . really. It doesn’t matter what you publish about privacy if you act in a manner that’s contrary to your statement. The best policy in the world can’t hold up after that. If you get caught sharing information or keeping customer information less than secure, you won’t just annoy customers—you’ll lose them. And even worse, you could send them straight to the competition.

Marketing, indeed all of consumer life, has entered the big data era, and consumers are becoming aware of just how much companies know about them. If you fail to put a premium on customer privacy, you could end up tarnishing your brand. Take privacy seriously, however, and you may just find your customers give you the trust and loyalty you deserve in return.

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