The Value of Privacy Protection in Today’s World

Privacy. The one word that raises debate and questions whenever it is brought up in a discussion. In today’s world, privacy goes hand in hand with profit in business. As technology becomes more advanced and customer’s needs become more complex, it will continue to be an issue unless addressed.

Recent research by Adobe, shows that “privacy isn’t something brands are willing to talk about. They found that companies need to be open and honest with consumers on how they’re using data. Businesses need to inform their customers why the information is being collected and what they will do with it.

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According to MIT Sloan Management Review:
Many large companies have privacy officers who set rules for managing data and audit compliance with those rules; however, hiring a privacy officer is usually seen by senior managers as a compliance cost. A company that respects the relationship with its customers, on the other hand, would think of the privacy officer as a strategic role and would establish a framework of consumer privacy controls as a key marketing and strategic variable.

There are three strategies that companies can follow to transform touch points around privacy into a positive customer experience:

  • Develop user-centric privacy controls to give customers control.
  • Avoid multiple intrusions.
  • Prevent human intrusion by using automation wherever possible.

According to Entrepreneur.com:
Protecting customer privacy is not only an issue for business giants like Facebook and Sony.

Many small companies have lost customer trust or even been sued over privacy mishaps in recent years. And they’re likely to face more problems as digital data files grow in size and importance to modern business.

You are legally, if not morally, obligated to treat your customers’ private personal data respectfully and fairly. But protecting customer privacy need not be a drain on your company. Done wisely, it can create customer goodwill and even lift sales, while reducing business and legal risks.

Such a strategy involves more than securing a network from hackers and posting a boilerplate privacy policy. Here are three steps that can help you build a comprehensive and effective privacy plan:

  1. Let your consumers know you value their privacy and publicize what you are doing to keep their information secure. Prominently display BBB-certification and other security logos on your Web site and dedicate an entire page to your privacy policy. This will give your Web site additional credibility and build trust in your brand.
  2. Let consumers know when their information is being disclosed. If you plan to use their information for one reason or another, tell consumers at the time you’re asking for the information. For example, have a sign at the cash register, a note at the bottom of a receipt, or a pop-up window on your site before they check out. Also, offer the opportunity for consumers to decline to provide certain information or opt out of the database.
  3. Tell them why you’re asking for their information, and be honest. Many brands ask for consumer’s date of birth to send birthday coupons. Some brands need consumers’ zip code and license number for their return policy because they use return tracking services, like The Retail Equation (TRE) to fight crime. Best Buy, for example, includes their disclosure information and an explanation of how TRE works on their Web site.

For more information on the importance of privacy in business and our personal lives check out the Ted talk below by Romeo Farinacci: