Trust in the Digital Age

nullImage by: Jens Johnsson on Unsplash

Back in the day, handing over personal info to sign up for apps or sites didn’t seem like such a big deal. But thanks to recent privacy policy violations, people aren’t so quick to give their data away anymore.

Who can blame them? Technology’s become such an important part of our lives that it’s hard to escape from it, whether we’re hard at work or relaxing at home.

It’s not just users who have to stay on top of data privacy news, though. In addition to coming up with solutions that users love, businesses need to make sure that they keep their users’ data safe and comply with regulations. Even a single privacy violation could ruin a brand’s reputation in the blink of an eye.

While this could happen by accident, it’s far worse if a company misuses user data on purpose.

Facebook is a perfect example of this, misusing user data several times in the past year. One incident caught them sharing user data to business partners without express consent. As a result, Facebook lost a million of its European users in three months. To make matters worse, the company experienced its biggest intraday drop in stock by the end of 2018.

The Value of Data—and User Trust

If there’s anything we can learn from the Facebook fiasco, it’s that people care more about their data than we’d like to think. In fact, 79 percent of users choose to leave a company if it uses their personal data behind their backs. When shopping around for options, 9 out of 10 users take good data security into account.

It’s no longer enough for businesses to offer a value-packed service or product. Now, companies also have to make proper handling of user data a top priority.

But users also want assurance that a brand has their best interests at heart. And to assure consumers, businesses will have to work on gaining their trust. After all, users are more willing to share sensitive data with trusted brands.

Building User Trust

User trust isn’t easy to gain, but it isn’t impossible to achieve, either.

Businesses can start building user trust by implementing security measures. This could mean investing in cybersecurity software or hiring a dedicated IT team. It’s also best to invest in educating employees on the best cybersecurity practices.

While publishing a standard privacy policy may help, it won’t do much good if users can’t understand all of the complicated legal terms. That’s because 96 percent of users want companies to be more transparent about how they collect and use personal data. Explaining these policies using everyday language can make things a lot less intimidating for the average user.

Businesses also have to put in the effort of keeping users engaged with what’s happening to their data. If they have to tweak policies to address new security issues, they have to let their users know. This transparency will keep users from assuming that companies are taking advantage of them.

Today’s businesses definitely know the value of their users’ data. But if they fail to see the value in their users’ trust, they might end up losing their user base altogether. As a business owner, make sure to do everything you can to keep users loyalty to your brand. It’s incredibly difficult to build trust with users from the ground up. Once it’s broken, it’s even harder to get it back.

References:

“Facebook Didn’t Sell Your Data; It Gave It Away.”

“Facebook Loses A Million European Users In Three Months.”

“Facebook shares drop as data privacy fallout spreads.”

“Almost 9 out of 10 people say businesses that protect their data will win their custom.”

“What Is the Future of Data Sharing?”

“Study Shows How Consumers Expect Marketers to Balance Data and Transparency.”