Home Depot is the latest big brand to suffer a large-scale data breach, affecting over 56 million payment cards. With headlines like this, it’s no surprise that according to a blog published on Econsultancy.com, 87% of consumers don’t believe that there are adequate safeguards in place to protect their information? Consumers also believe that in spite of this concern about safety they must share data to have a better experience with a company.
In other words, Customers will share data even though they don’t believe it is protected enough to get a better value from an organization.
It’s not hard to determine where these opposing viewpoints originate. When Target had the data breach last December that affected over 110 million customers, and the latest issues with Apple’s iCloud, not to mention Home Depot’s latest breach, it seems the safety of everyone’s data is highly suspect. If organizations as reliable and well known as Target, Apple, Home Depot aren’t safe, who is? The feelings of vulnerability are further reinforced by the constant headlines in their wake about how big organizations, specifically Target and Home Depot, didn’t do enough to prevent the breach.
At the same time that concerns about the safety of our data exist, we see great new applications of data mining that make our lives better. Netflix and Amazon continue to perfect their suggestions to suit the interests and previous selections by their customer, creating value to their loyal customers.
So yes, data doesn’t feel safe…but we want our favorite organizations to have it—especially when it makes our Netflix queue so much better!
Trust and the Customer Experience
Emotions are an important part of any customer experience. How a customer feels about the company is an integral part of their loyalty to it. Emotions evoked by the branding, the reputation, and the actions of an organization should build trust.
So to have trust, then your Customer Experience needs to include ways to build feelings of safety and acceptance to give customers the confidence in your organization that they need to form loyalty to you. So how can you create an experience that boosts your customers’ trust that you will ensure that their private information stays that way? The answer to this question comes in three parts.
Four Ways to Gain Customers’ Trust in Data Security:
Be forthright in how you are going to use data. Consumers can tell when you are using their data to help them and when you are using it to help yourself. Most people know nothing is for free, and the way you are “paying” for a service is through the data you give to them. By making sure that you are clear on what you want the information for, customers feel more comfortable giving it to you. You are going to evoke more feelings of safety from your customers. When you only use it for the reason you stated, you earn their trust.
Warn Customers of the dangers they face and encourage them to keep their data safe through strong passwords. This warning is part of the company’s social responsibility.
Listen to your customers and engage with them. Superior Customer Experiences require a two-way dialogue with your Customers. So when you are communicating with your Customers, listen to what they say about data, their safety, and your marketing efforts. They will tell you what you need to do to keep the relationship strong. Responding with a solution promptly also helps enforce that they are important to you, a critical element to the emotion acceptance, and will further strengthen Customer loyalty.
Boost the value you provide. When you want data from your Customers, make sure that you use it to provide value to their experience. Consider a gift to “surprise and delight” them that relates to their preferences or make a suggestion on how they can get more value from a service that they are underutilizing at the time. These will likely contribute to feelings of happiness associated with your experience, which is the best emotion to drive value for your organization.
Customer Experiences are a catalyst for Customer trust and loyalty. With the introduction of data mining into so many experiences, the issue of data security becomes an important aspect of your Customer Experience design. Data security rises in the priority list more, particularly when you consider that recent headlines report hijackings of data by “trustworthy” organizations.
So be forthright with your Customers about how you will use data. Listen to their concerns and respond with solutions. Make sure that your use of data adds value to their experience. These four actions evoke emotions that develop a relationship built on a foundation of trust, which can flourish into Customer retention and loyalty over time.
Which companies do you think do a good job with data security? Which ones do poorly? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books and engaging keynote speaker. To read more from Colin on LinkedIn, connect with him by clicking here. If you would like to follow Beyond Philosophy click here.
Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX.
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