12 Ways For Tech Companies Using Consumers’ Data To Earn Their Trust

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In the remote-first era of Covid-19, the potential for and frequency of cyberattacks has increased significantly. With data breaches regularly hitting the headlines, many consumers are wary of giving tech companies access to their personal data.

So how can a tech brand anticipate this and assuage the concerns of consumers who are reluctant to share personal information? Below, 12 members of Forbes Technology Council shared tips for companies that want to build trust with consumers when it comes to using their personal data.

1. Invest In Blockchain Technology

I love the idea of a blockchain-based profile that puts the control around how their personal data can be consumed completely in the hands of the user. It would be even better if such a profile could actually help the user monetize sharing of their data. – Michael Fulton, Expedient

2. Adopt A ‘Privacy By Design’ Approach

We must ensure that the collection and use of private data are intentional and explicitly communicated to consumers. If a personal data element is not required, then it is imperative that we do not collect it in the first place. Adopting a “privacy by design” approach to process and application development is a key method for maintaining compliance and building confidence with consumers. – David Stapleton, CyberGRX

3. Share Case Studies Of Brands That Trust You

Building trust is hard in general, but especially in the current, all-remote situation. One of the most effective ways to convince customers is to show them case studies of companies that already trusted you, especially well-known brands within a similar niche. – Robert Krajewski, Ideamotive

4. Apply Transparent Data Use Standards

Consumers view tech companies as independent operators, each with their own business agenda for personal data. Tech companies can create trust by creating joint, transparent standards that they apply to the use and management of personal data. With Big Tech signing on to a universal set of data use standards, consumers can better understand how their data is used. – Micheal Goodwin, Server@Work

5. Show That You Value Personal Data

Choose who to do business with based on how seriously they take security. That includes providing two-factor authentication and guarantees of refunds for any losses they cause. The best way to convey your serious attitude with personal data is to show that you value it. For example, give the consumer something of value in return for their data instead of just asking, “Can I have it because I benefit?” – Mike Lloyd, RedSeal

6. Work With Policymakers On Data Governance

Industry and government need to work together to create a clear, enforceable and definitive framework for data governance. With businesses all using the same playbook, consumers will have their faith restored in the use of data and how it is regulated. Not all data, nor its uses, are the same, so consumers need to ensure their data is used in a responsible and authorized way. – Sam Amrani, Olvin

7. Have A Third Party Audit Your Security

First, be sure to collect only the data that’s needed and be really transparent about how and why you are doing it. After that, you can work with a third party to periodically audit your site’s security and fix any vulnerabilities, which will likely show up as your software develops. Reiterate your commitment to cybersecurity in as many user touchpoints as you can, and you’ll be well on your way! – Nacho De Marco, BairesDev

8. Obtain Consent Before Collecting Data

Consent is critical. By relying on consent-based data collection methods, companies can collect data with the consumer’s explicit permission. Consent management databases can also help to build trust by transparently showing what consumer data is being used for and giving consumers the continuous option to remove consent at any time. – Sanjoy Malik, Urjanet

9. Adopt Policies That Favor Consumer Privacy Concerns

With its General Data Protection Regulation, the European Union is showing that consumers do actually value their privacy. So adopting policies that favor customer privacy concerns over extra profit from selling their data—and being clear about that choice—will help build trust. Be transparent. State your privacy policy clearly and in a way that the average, non-technical user can understand, and then hold to your own policies. – Saryu NayyarGurucul

10. Show Social Proof On-Site

We build trust with our customers by showing social proof on-site. When your audience can see verified trust seals and reviews from countless customers, they are much more likely to trust your business. You can even grab testimonials from high-profile clients and put them on your homepage or landing pages to show that well-known people trust your brand. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

11. Establish Transparency Through Clear Communication

To build trust with your customers, you must establish transparency. Are you deploying a new software update? Clearly explain why and what the new features are to your users in plain language. Do new data regulations affect how you collect and use customer data? Let your clients know right away. It sounds simple, but transparency is the foundation of trust. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC

12. Reiterate Your Message Often

Reiterate your message as often as necessary. If your customers are concerned about their personal data within your system, every touchpoint is an opportunity to reiterate your commitment: every email, every press release and every blog post. Mention one specific way you protect their data at a time, and focus on your overall commitment to security. – Luke Wallace, Bottle Rocket

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