Are You Cultivating Digital Trust?

If your company is not actively engaged in your trust dynamics, you may be missing out on opportunities to grow.

Our world has gone digital. There’s no denying that the Internet and big data have taken over businesses small to large, resulting in an ever-increasing reliance on digital platforms across all business types. And while our digital landscape has provided businesses with unprecedented opportunities to grow and expand, it also comes with inherent risks as data is bought, sold and stolen by corporations and cyber criminals alike. As a result, companies are being forced to consider their digital risk profile, and whether they’ve cultivated a healthy level of digital trust among clients and suppliers alike.

Digital trust is the level of confidence users have in your ability to keep their data safe and secure. As our reliance on IT systems continues to grow, these systems become fundamental to the success of our businesses. And because of this, you, your shareholders and your customers need to trust that your technology won’t fail them.

Last year the business world was rocked by a number of high profile security leaks. WannaCry ran rampant across the globe, compromising even government operations and data. The names Equifax and Deloitte may immediately lead you to think of broken trust and high risk data exposures. These instances not only negatively impacted the business’ bank accounts, they bankrupted their digital trust.
“Trust has become essential in the digital age. It must underpin how you organise and run your business so that you can be successful. With high profile international debates on data privacy and security it’s not difficult to see why.”
– Grant Waterfall
There are several factors that determine the level of digital trust a customer has in your business. As they interact with your business and your business systems, they will (usually) unconsciously determine whether you can be trusted in the following areas:
The Security of Your Systems: Are your customers confident that your systems will protect their data, identity and privacy? Have potential issues been addressed?
The Transparency of Your Company: Are you transparent in how you collect and use data? Is there concern that the data you collect is being sold behind consumers’ backs to other companies who may abuse it?
Control Over Data: Do you allow your customers to control how much or how little data you collect from them? Do you give them the option of which services and benefits they receive and which they want to refuse? 
A recent study by the European digital experience company Orange shows that 78% of consumers feel it is hard to trust companies when it comes to the way they use consumer data. They believe that organizations have not only failed in their ability to protect personal data, but a high percentage believe that organizations regularly profit from sharing or selling their data.

This breakdown in trust among consumers makes building digital trust even more important for businesses who rely on customer data to operate. So how do you begin to build your customer’s digital trust?
Ensure Your Systems Work: When users routinely encounter issues when accessing your online systems their level of trust in your company begins to erode. Ensure maximum uptime and functionality to build the foundation of trust.
Be Transparent: Tell consumers from the start what data you collect and how it is used. Explain how their personal information is protected and what steps you’re taking to avoid system failure or data breaches.
Provide Customers with Options: Give your users control over how much information they share. If home addresses or phone numbers are not necessary, allow them to opt out of providing that information. And be certain that all of your communications are relevant and wanted. Users should be able to opt out of email notifications unless it’s vital to the functionality of your system.
Monitor Your Risk Profile: By monitoring your risk profile you will be better equipped to handle any new digital threats that arise. You are able to shift your business processes or systems to reduce risks as they arise, and you are able to quickly communicate with your consumers about any potential threats or threat resolutions.
Remember You’re Dealing with People: It’s easy to get caught up in the enormity of big data and lose sight of the fact that there are real people behind the numbers. But people want to feel recognized and valued, so when communicating with consumers, remember that their rapport with your company will strongly influence the trust they have in the services you provide. Treat them like people, not just another number in your database.

Developing digital trust with your consumers has never been more important than it is now. By harnessing the power of personal data your business has the opportunity to tailor services and processes to your consumers’ needs – creating a more rewarding experience for them and your business at the same time. If you’re interested in learning how your business can leverage consumer data while cultivating a high level of digital trust, Spud Software is here to help. Give us a call or visit our website to learn more about how we help our customers succeed.