5 Ways to Give Your Customers Confidence in Their Privacy Protection

Data breaches and misuse are becoming a regular occurrence for businesses. Our constant online engagement and social media sharing mean our personal information is available and vulnerable to a wide range of people. Whether your personal data has been accessed by Cambridge Analytica or the credit card information you gave to Delta  was breached, every individual is concerned about their privacy.

As a business, how can you ensure that your customers will entrust you with their data? Writing and posting a privacy policy is a great first step, but it’s not enough. It’s important to protect your customers’ data both for their sake and yours, especially when they’re engaging with you online. Here’s how you can signal to a potential online user that they can trust your business with their data.

1. Use Ethical Practices

Many businesses are eager to improve their marketing strategies, but this should never be at the expense of your users’ privacy. Uber has been under fire a few times recently; once when a general manager used Uber technology to track the location of a Buzzfeed journalist and another time when an executive suggested “digging up dirt” on Uber’s critics to expose their personal lives. Though no laws were broken, this flippant attitude towards users’ privacy reveals an ethical issue that marketers face when they have access to data—and also reveals the downfall of a company’s reputation when they violate this ethical code.

2. Encourage Secure Logins

When users log in to your website, make sure that you include safeguards, such as requiring complex passwords and changing them frequently. Even better, use two-step authentication.

3. Be Choosy About the Data You Collect

As much as businesses are encouraged to collect data and collect some more, be careful about the data you ask of users. Don’t collect more than is necessary—less is more. The more data you have, especially that which is not needed, the more at-risk your users are for privacy breaches. Ask only for the data that you actually need; this will not only lower the risk of breaches, but will also prevent a customer from abandoning their product order or sign-up process due to red flags they perceive regarding intrusive questions.

4. Secure Your Data—and Reassure Your Customers

Team up with professionals to secure your databases, network, and website. Your website would likely be the first to be attacked by cyber criminals, so include multiple layers of security. Other best practices are to permanently delete customer information that you no longer need, use a secure connection for all transactions, and encrypt any data that exposes your customers’ personal identification. You can also communicate your efforts towards data security in your privacy policy to ease your customers’ minds.

 5. Allow Customers to Choose

Customers are more likely to trust businesses that request permission to access their data, giving them the choice to say “no.” Ensure that you’re asking customers to give you access—this not only empowers the customer, but it also makes you a little less liable if a cyber attack occurs.

 

It’s fine to hope that your business’s data is never breached, but it’s vital to take preventative action and prove to your customers that you’re taking appropriate steps to protect their personal data. Privacy, after all, does not affect just the customers; it also affects the customer experience, your brand, and your business’s reputation and trustworthiness.

Heather CoxComment