It’s easy for those of us who live and breathe customer data and data transparency to see our point of view as unique. As professionals and experts, we see first-hand how it can power deeply personalized experiences, delight customers, and deliver exceptional value. We also have a deep understanding of the responsibility.
Data transparency is a must today – managing a customer’s data is a critical trust point in any business relationship. One bad experience where trust breaks can sour the relationship altogether. Yet there’s a fundamental shift underway; the wider consumer population is increasingly more aware of just how impactful their own data can be as well.
That shift is having a tremendous influence on global data practices and standards.
Data transparency is one of the most critical elements of business
In the U.S, 73 percent of consumers say they are more concerned about their online privacy than they were a few years ago, and within the EU, one in five consumers believe that businesses do not care about their privacy.
Around the world consumers and governments alike are calling for greater restrictions and regulation around how businesses collect and leverage data. From 2018’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU to the upcoming California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and Brazilian General Data Protection Law (LGPD) in 2020, businesses are now playing catch-up to reestablish trust in their data practices and demonstrate they’re respecting consumer privacy.
In the long term, an informed, empowered and data-driven consumer is a great thing for businesses. The more consumers are invested in their own data, the better resource they can be as organizations seek to understand their preferences and build experiences and products accordingly.
In the short term, however, this trend is creating a data catch-22. While consumers support data privacy regulation such as the CCPA, they also demand that businesses deliver hyper-personalized experiences – which businesses cannot do without said data. Brands now need to juggle restructuring their data strategy towards compliance, without any disruption to their personalized customer experiences.
Untangling this data dilemma and meeting these competing consumer expectations requires embracing transparency in new, meaningful ways. That means giving consumers new ownership of their data and demonstrating – in clear terms – how data sharing is creating value.
Here’s a few ways to incorporate data transparency into your strategy:
1.) Get specific.
Are you still feeling the effects of the one time you gave your email for “alerts and notifications for upcoming deals,” without any indication if those deals will actually be relevant? Consumers today want to know exactly how their information is being used. That means tying a direct line to what you’re asking for, and what it will mean for them. That can include asking for location in exchange for push notifications when they approach a store with an on-going sale.
2.) Get consent.
Global regulations are also changing the way brands ask for information. That means no multi-page user agreements that require a law degree to fully understand. Consumers need to be able to pick and choose what they’re signing up for, with the on-going option to opt-out. Making them feel like they’re part of the process, not that you’re trying to trick them into handing over critical information.
3.) Give control.
There’s no faster way to lose customer trust, and attract regulatory attention, than by failing to provide customers with required data subject access rights. While these rights vary depending on the specific regulation, the common thread is clear: Businesses need to offer customers an intuitive portal through which they can control their own personal data. Making this control a key part of your customer experience will show that your taking their data as seriously as they do.
As the global data conversation continues to evolve, it can feel as if meeting and exceeding consumer expectations is a moving target. The truth is: that’s because it is one. Building a best-in-class data strategy requires a fluid, customer-first approach that emphasizes the highest possible standard in consumer protection.