The technological advancement of this century brought with it unprecedented opportunity to gather and collect enormous amounts of personal information from consumers and use it for marketing — among other things.
However, this data collection free-for-all is being reined in as consumers and governments catch on to shady practices implemented by some businesses.
Read on to learn how your business can build more trust with your consumers by assuring them you respect their personal information.
The Rise of Data Collection
The convenience of the internet changed the way businesses reach their customers, and the world has become more interconnected. But, with this technological shift came the opportunity to collect, share, sell, and sometimes misuse consumers’ personal information.
To understand their customer base better and expand it, companies began to collect data such as:
- Behavior patterns: Why do consumers act the way they do?
- Demographics: Are they reaching their target demographic? Is there a new demographic they should expand to?
- Consumer preferences: What are customers looking for? Are they meeting expectations?
With this information, businesses can tailor themselves to meet their customers’ expectations, to better communicate their message and brand to the customer, and improve their marketing strategies.
There are four different types of data:
- Personal data: Is unique to the consumer. It can include a customer’s name, credit card information, computer IP address, gender, or social security number.
- Engagement data: Illustrates how customers access a website, such as a website, mobile application, email, text message, or social media.
- Behavioral data: Describes how customers behave — their purchase history, search history, and every keystroke and mouse movement they make.
- Attitudinal data: Includes customer satisfaction and feelings. It also includes their opinions about a product and shopping experiences.
Many businesses succeed because of their data collection strategies; some even sell their customer data to third parties who pay a significant amount. As a result, data collection and selling has become a business all its own.
What Is Data Privacy?
Data privacy is the right of consumers to keep their personal information and habits private. It encompasses different aspects of privacy, including consent to data collection, data use, and data integrity.
Furthermore, data privacy principles confer the right of people to control if and how their data is collected, whether it is shared or sold, and with whom it is shared.
For a while, businesses enjoyed the benefits of almost unregulated data collection, but that is no longer the case. Consumers and, in turn, governments are beginning to understand data privacy better and demand it from businesses.
As a result, there is both a growing legal and ethical requirement for businesses to be responsible, transparent, and accountable when it comes to data.
The following are the examples of data privacy laws your company must follow:
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): This is the European Union (EU)’s data privacy regulation. It has the most restrictive rules governing the management of personal data. A violation carries up to 4% of a company’s yearly revenue.
- California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): This California law mandates that companies tell consumers about how they process data and allow consumers to choose how the data is collected and shared.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): This US federal law governs how data in a healthcare setting is managed and protected.
Legal Requirements vs. Ethical Requirements
Data collection is a revolutionary and powerful tool for business. But, like any power, it needs to be regulated to ensure that it is not misused and people are not harmed.
National, state, foreign, and global bodies have introduced laws and regulations protecting data privacy. As a company, you cannot operate without following these legal regulations.
You must also comply with ethical requirements for respecting data.
Privacy is a fundamental right recognized globally in one form or another. Moreover, that right to privacy also extends to the internet.
Data privacy has garnered much attention in the past few years, and people are becoming more skeptical about how companies use their data. As a result, consumers will expect you to have safeguards in place to protect the data you collect.
Additionally, more consumers will expect full transparency about how you collect and handle data and complete control of the data you have collected from them.
Do Consumers Care About Data Privacy?
As more and more data breaches occur and shady business practices surface, consumers see data collection as an invasion of their right to privacy. They increasingly do not trust companies to handle their data ethically and are suspicious of businesses’ motives in collecting it.
This awareness has grown over the years and exploded in the aftermath of scandals like Facebook-Cambridge Analytica.
Over the last few years, studies have been conducted to assess consumers’ views on data collection and data privacy:
- 2018 study from Treasure Data: This study found that almost 64% of those surveyed were concerned about the way their online behavior was tracked by tech giants like Facebook, Alexa, and Google.
- 2020 KPG study titled “The new imperative for corporate data responsibility”: This study found that among the people surveyed, 87% believe data privacy is a human right. Also, 68% of the people do not trust companies to sell the data ethically.
- 2021 Cisco study titled “Building Consumer Confidence Through Transparency and Control”: This study found that 86% of consumers care about data privacy, care about protecting others, and want more control over what happens to their data. In the same study, Cisco found that 79% of people would be willing to spend time and money to protect their data.
- 2021 KPMG study titled “Corporate Data Responsibility: Bridging the Trust Chasm”: This study found that 86% of the population is concerned about data privacy. Moreover, 68% are concerned about the amount of data businesses collect, 40% do not trust companies to use the data ethically, and 30% would not be willing to share their personal data for any reason. That is quite remarkable — in a world that turns on the internet — which, in turn, runs on data collection — almost one-third of the population said they would not be willing to share personal data.
Benefits of Data Privacy Compliance
As a result of consumers becoming more informed on the subject, data privacy has become a crucial part of how a business operates. The benefits of respecting data and complying with regulations are increasing, and noncompliance quickly becomes detrimental to companies.
Benefits of Respecting Consumer Data Privacy
As the stats above show, consumers demand data privacy.
Your business will benefit significantly from being accountable and transparent to your consumers about how you handle data.
Differentiate Yourself and Increase Your Market Share
When faced with two companies, one with transparent and explicit respect for consumer data and privacy laws, consumers will choose the former most of the time.
This differentiation will snowball into market share growth for your business.
Strengthen Your Defense Against Data Breaches
Respecting your consumers enough to have exhaustive security protocols and procedures will help your business mitigate the risk of data breaches and signal that you are a trustworthy company.
Benefits of Complying With Data Privacy Laws
While it may seem cumbersome and overwhelming, compliance with data privacy laws yields the best results for your company.
Avoid Litigation and Fines
The legal and financial consequences can be severe if your company violates a data privacy law. For example, the list of GDPR fines is growing every year, and some of the fines levied are enormous.
Avoid Damage to Your Reputation
Reputation can take forever to build but only a few minutes to destroy.
Violating data privacy regulations or exposing your consumer’s data in a breach will quickly land you in the news, and your reputation will take a long time to recover.
With so many choices available to consumers these days, a hit to your reputation — even a temporary one — can end your business.
4 Ways Data Privacy Compliance Builds Trust With Consumers
Here are four ways that respecting data privacy will build trust with your consumers and strengthen your reputation.
1. Consumers Are Tired (And Scared) Of Being Tracked
People are more aware than ever that their lives are tracked by private companies or government sectors.
To consumers, data privacy means they are free from intrusion into their private data without their consent. With this freedom, consumers can choose to buy products, use services, and write reviews or express their opinions without the fear that the information would be shared with or sold to unnecessary parties.
If your company is transparent about your compliance with the laws and respect for their data, your consumers will reward you with their trust and business.
2. Consumers Appreciate Control Over Their Information
While consumers know their information gets collected, stored, and sold, they may not understand how, to what extent, and to whom. Without rules, chaos ensues, and people feel they have no control over their personal information.
When a business complies with privacy laws, it puts control of data in the hands of its customers and earns their trust even further.
Dr. Ann Cavoukian, the Executive Director of the Global Privacy & Security by Design Centre and Creator of the Privacy by Design Framework, described privacy as “the foundation of freedom.”
For her, privacy is about control of one’s personal data and information.
Private companies or government sectors may access data, but the data still belongs to the individual. With that sentiment comes the responsibility to give users complete control of what they choose to do with their belongings.
3. Consumers Crave Transparency
Compliance with data privacy laws clearly signals a business’s willingness to be transparent. Consumers will appreciate the openness of a company that explains its data practices in easy-to-understand language.
This appreciation will result in more trust and a higher chance of the consumer choosing to give you their business over a competitor.
4. Consumers Trust You More If They Feel Safe
If personal data is not respected and laws are not complied with, deliberate or accidental mismanagement of personal data can occur.
Most data privacy laws have requirements and guidelines for keeping data secure and setting up systems for protecting it. Complying with these laws shows your customers that you are serious about keeping their data secure.
Consumers will appreciate your efforts to respect their data and keep it safe.
A good way to let them know that this is how you are protecting their data is to send out periodic emails or notifications telling them what steps your company is taking to safeguard their information from malicious third parties.
How Can Termly Help?
Termly’s mission is to make it easy for businesses like you to comply with data privacy laws and build the trust of your customers.
We believe getting your business in compliance should be easy and affordable.
For Small- and Medium-sized Businesses
At Termly, we offer a complete compliance solution for your business, from consent management to legal policy generators.
You can use Termly to:
- Get proper consent for data collection
- Offer your users a comprehensive Terms and Conditions agreement
- And much more!
- Try Termly for free!
For Agency Partners
Termly provides agencies with a streamlined compliance solution they can offer their clients as a unique selling point.
Our partnership program includes everything listed above with added wholesale pricing and volume discounts, multi-domain (including sub-domains) and multi-user support, direct customer support, and more!
We work with many agencies in various industries and can cater to any of your compliance needs.
Fill out the form below to get a custom quote for your agency:
Awareness of the power companies have over consumer data has significantly increased in the past decade and brought with it:
- Demand for transparency and control from consumers
- Regulation by worldwide governments
As a result, companies must balance consumer desire for privacy and compliance with data privacy regulations which is easier for some companies than others.
Those who can maintain this balance will thrive and build trust, while those who do not will break consumer trust and confidence and fade into history.