7 ways to create trust by implementing the GDPR

7 ways to create trust by implementing the GDPR

The GDPR brings many challenges, but it is also an opportunity to create and leverage customer trust. When people trust a brand, they are more likely to recommend it and are even willing to pay more for its products or services, studies show. This is especially true in data-driven industries. So when companies whose main competitive advantage is customer data, gain a track record of being trustworthy, they will outperform their competitors.

But how can we create trust when it comes to processing personal data? These seven principles are all required by the GDPR. But if handled well, they can be used to boost customer trust in your business significantly.

1. Ask for permission, not for forgiveness

You should always ask permission for the collection of all types of personal data and explain the purposes of data processing. This also means that covert methods for obtaining personal data (such as cookies) should be avoided without informing and getting approval from your customers first. Be clear about the data you collect and how it is treated and stick to your own rules!

2. Limit yourself

Do not ask customers for more information than necessary. Requesting unnecessary information is often seen as a red flag. Buying customer data also negatively affects trust and should be avoided.

3. Deliver value in exchange for personal data

If you are able to show your users that by sharing their data, their experience improves, they will be willing to provide their information more easily. Make sure this is a fair trade.

4. Give customers control

The best way to build trust is by giving people direct control over their information. You can achieve this by providing a platform on which your customers can easily rectify and delete their personal data and manage their privacy settings. Or at the least you should provide customer centric processes that make it easy for customers to execute their rights.

5. Adequately protect

Consumers will never be able to trust you with their data if you cannot prove that their data is secure. So it is of the utmost importance to implement a security management system within your organisation. Obtaining security certificates (such as ISO27001:2013) are a good way to show that information security best-practices are implemented within your organisation.

6. Be honest

Your incident response plan should incorporate an incident communication strategy that informs affected people and data protection authorities correctly. Withholding information or trying to cover up incidents will have long-lasting negative consequences on your company. Handling a breach well and communicating effectively can show maturity and responsibility, especially if you can show that the breach happened despite strong security measures.

7. Educate your customers

Users can’t trust you if they don’t know what you are doing. To maximise the trust gained from your implemented control measures, inform users about your personal data practices trough infotainment advertisements. Companies that think it’s sufficient to simply provide disclosures in an end-user licensing agreement or present the terms and conditions of data use at sign-up, are missing an opportunity. They may be addressing regulatory requirements, but they are doing little if anything to educate consumers and build trust.

These seven principles can never be obtained & maintained within an organisation without the implementation of an eight principle: Governance. Governance is the principle that rules the other principles. It can be explained as the implementation of a set of rules and control measures through technological solutions, roles, policies and processes. This leads to the establishment of a privacy management system within your organisation which allows you to monitor and manage the effectiveness of the other implemented principles. If you communicate effectively and in simple terms about your measures, this will convince your customers that you care and that their data is in good hands.

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