Gaining Customer’s Trust with Their Data

This series is adapted from a small talk earlier this year.

Trust is the confidence in something, like a person, or a product or service. The world works around the trust that most in society will follow simple norms.

Trust is a vital component that enables business transactions. Customers need a certain level of trust before they will open up the wallet. Over digital contexts this could mean believing that the features and benefits proposed on a webpage are correct, that the value of the product or service is as advertised, that the product will be delivered, or the service rendered to expectations, that the payment form securely and accurately bills, or the confirmation providing the correct details, and more.

In the customer journey, you need to build a level of trust for your customers to feel confident in doing business.

Customer data is a hot commodity — today more valued with the advent of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence initiatives and projects. These are not the only products and services that require data — platforms like the CRM and marketing automation depend on customer data to maximize utility.

But customers are increasingly more protective of their data and privacy.

Apple, for example, uses trust to stand out from its competitors — they’ve positioned their privacy policy as a differentiator compared to the other tech giants. News of data breaches, misuse of data, and data leaks are commonplace. News is starting to hit close to home for many. An email disclosing a data breach and requesting you to change your password. Another one that also may have your credit card information saved. That one guy asking for bitcoins because he found your MD5-hashed password in the dictionary.

Even if your database has never been compromised, globally, consumer trust wanes with each security incident. This negatively affects the customer’s perception of data security as a whole. The trustworthiness of your security measures does not live in a vacuum.

As a result, customers will do what they can to protect themselves. How many of you use an alternate email address for signing up for non-essential services or promotions? What about using an alias for a name? Getting accurate customer data is already a challenge for many CRM deployments. Inaccurate data can skewer and pollute projects like the personalization and recommendation engines.

Customer trust is a vital element in the business relationship and is important to accurate data collection. The organization must show that it can responsibly handle customer data. The road to earning customer trust is a long one, and the next couple of articles will cover areas to consider.