Data Sharing Practices Getting Consumers Anxious

Photo credit: iStockphoto/AntonioGuillem

Customers are not averse to sharing their data, but businesses need to do more in allaying the privacy and security fears.

This is one of the major conclusions from a new global Adobe Consumer Unleash Data Survey which studied the behaviors of over 5,000 customers and 2,000 businesses. 

The survey noted that consumers generally don’t have a problem sharing their personal data. More than three-quarters (76%) said they were comfortable doing so, if it meant a better CX. 

But 67% said they were concerned about identity theft with 57% having experienced a data breach. Meanwhile, 48% said a data-security lapse was inevitable. 

Be open

The survey noted consumers’ demand for more openness in data-collection practices. They wanted to know how their data is secured and kept private.

Copyright: Adobe
Copyright: Adobe

“[Organizations] need to help safeguard that data so that it’s only available to individuals that need it to accomplish their jobs, and to better ensure that any data transferred across the internet is not available to any third parties,” said John Bates, director of product management at Adobe.

The report recommended four essential practices: 

• Obtain appropriate consumer consent

• Audit and evaluate internal workflows and processes

• Provide a consolidated and clear experience for consumers

• Develop a data transparency strategy with an eye toward CX

“That means enabling customers to have transparency into how data is being used, as well as control over how it’s used,” said Nate Smith, group manager of product marketing at Adobe. “If consumers don’t see any value being offered by a brand in exchange for their data, they won’t be giving that brand their data, and likely won’t be an advocate for the brand either.”

Learn to be empathetic

The types of personal information consumers are comfortable sharing vary from country to country. Yet, across the board, 85% said they had the right not to be tracked online. 

While an overall 50% of consumers said they were comfortable sharing their full names, 82% of companies were collecting them, the survey revealed. In addition, only 25% of consumers said they were comfortable sharing their phone numbers, yet 75% of companies were collecting them. 

“Not only do companies need to respect this desire, but they also need to engage in their entire data practice with empathy and respect to the consumer as the foremost concern,” the report stated.

Respect and empathy for consumers’ preferences, which also include the digital channels on which they want to communicate, will go a long way to improving the customer experience, according to the report. And it begins with a customer-centric company culture that asks consumers what they want and then feeds this insight into its data-collection strategy.

The value exchange

Consumers look at data collection as an exchange. They see the data helping to improve personalization, targeting, and a better, overall CX. 

For 48% of survey respondents, that means being recognized when they call or log in; for 46%, it’s about receiving news or articles in line with their interests. 

Yet, companies seem to think they’re doing a better job at providing value than consumers do, according to the report.

Copyright: Adobe
Copyright: Adobe
Copyright: Adobe
Copyright: Adobe

To close the gap, the report suggests companies make better use of the data they’ve collected. 

Data integration across disparate systems is key to developing a single customer profile, which leads to the development of a more tailored customer journey. Also important is presenting content in a manner that helps further its reach, and tracking metrics to gauge effectiveness and pivot as necessary. 

Seventy-six percent of companies understand the benefits of providing a personalized CX. But they need to bridge the divide and show consumers the value of sharing their data.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/AntonioGuillem