Using effective data privacy techniques you can build customer trust in the service industry.

As businesses continue to reap the benefits of data analytics, consumers have become increasingly wary of how their personal information is being handled. Valuable insights can be uncovered from customer shopping patterns, demographics, reviews, and much more. However, this data is at risk if not adequately secured. It’s no longer enough to say that you offer great customer service. You also need to make this experience secure and dependable for everyone involved.

59% of consumers would view a brand unfavorably if it were to suffer from a single data breach. This shows how important building trust through data privacy is in today’s world. And the best way for your company to build this trust is by prioritizing customer data security and compliance.

How data privacy builds trust

Consumers have become increasingly sensitive about how their personal data is being handled. Whether you analyze credit card purchases to improve pricing, or you use demographics to identify the perfect customer profile, collecting data from customers should warrant high privacy standards. Unfortunately, many companies are caught pants down when it comes to achieving this goal. Not only do they fail to prioritize security, but they also allow unauthorized personnel to access and use this data.

Consumers are taking a proactive approach to protect their personal data. From an increased emphasis on opting in (rather than opting out) to avoiding companies that have been affected by data breaches, consumers are taking matters into their own hands. Companies in the service industry and beyond can take this data revolution as an opportunity rather than a challenge. Indeed, by adapting your customer service approach to include high privacy standards, you can set yourself apart from the competition and build trust among your customers.

Data security builds trust in many different ways. For example, your customers will feel reassured that your data analytics goals will benefit them- and not just your bottom line. Service companies that can present themselves as leaders in data analytics and security will attract more customers and build their brand faster. And by focusing your customer service efforts to revolve around data privacy and security, you will also increase retention and referral rates for your company.

Protecting customer data is a continuous process. Similar to how service companies have a sales funnel for each buyer persona, you can use the same approach to reassure your customers that their data is safe. For example, your online platforms should include clear and detailed policies that govern customer data. You should also extend the same approach to mobile apps, in-store services, and other elements of the customer experience. Constantly reminding your customers that their data privacy matters will build trust in your brand.

A data breach can lead to 59% consumers viewing a brand unfavorably
A data breach can lead to 59% consumers viewing a brand unfavorably .

Ways of protecting customer data

For service companies to market data privacy to their customers, they first need to protect it. Keeping customer data safe requires a company-wide approach that seals loopholes and falls in line with your current goals.

When developing strategies for data privacy and security, consider the following steps:

  1. Engrain data security within the leadership team
    Data security is no longer a forgettable task that’s left for the IT department to handle. With only 37% of consumers believing that companies are protecting their data, there’s a need for building trust. This is why you should involve management in being accountable to cybersecurity initiatives. One way to do this is by creating a full-time position for data security. A CSO or cybersecurity manager will ensure that your company is centering services around customer privacy.
  2. Encrypt sensitive customer data
    Think of encryption as an extra layer of security in the event of a hacking attempt. By encrypting sensitive customer information, hackers won’t be able to access it and use it for malicious purposes.
  3. Train your employees
    In the service sector, your employees are the face of the company. Having a team that values customer data privacy is a significant asset and an excellent way to build trust. Train your staff about why protecting customer data is important and give them the tools they need to achieve this goal.
  4. Get compliant
    Regulatory bodies have developed many different compliance guidelines that revolve around data security. For example, SOC 2 sets guidelines for service companies that collect, process, and store data on behalf of clients. Being SOC 2 compliant means that you’ve taken the necessary steps to protect your systems and environment. It also established accountability to your customers and other stakeholders.

Data security is a new way of providing stellar customer service. Companies that are able to reassure their customers of high data privacy standards will be at the forefront of building trust and increasing conversion/retention rates.

ken lynch reciprocity
Ken Lynch

Ken Lynch is an enterprise software startup veteran, who has always been fascinated about what drives workers to work and how to make work more engaging. Ken founded Reciprocity to pursue just that. He has propelled Reciprocity’s success with this mission-based goal of engaging employees with the governance, risk, and compliance goals of their company in order to create more socially minded corporate citizens. Ken earned his BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT. Learn more at ReciprocityLabs.com.