Is trust the biggest issue in getting the most out of big data?

In the rush to embrace the data at your disposal, it’s critical that you build trust in your use of that data, argues MeetTheBoss TV’s Ben Thompson. So how do earn that trust?

In the rush to embrace the data at your disposal, it’s critical that you build trust in your use of that data. Customer privacy is a sensitive issue, and striking the balance between experiences that are immersive and those that are invasive is essential.

“Personalisation is a hard thing to sell,” explained Roberto Hortal, Head of Digital at EDF Energy, on a recent roundtable discussion. “But if you say, ‘let me look at your data so I can try to find out which appliances are costing you the most money, and what you can do about it’, then you have something of value to the customer.”

The most important thing is having a conversation with them, and being relevant. Brian Walmsley, former CMO at Treehouse Group, agrees. “We need to create a relevant experience through personalisation, but in a way that is supportive, helpful and non-threatening,” he told us. “That means being in control of your own data, with transparent guidelines on what it will be used for. “We have to take customers with us on that journey, or we’ll face restrictions in the future,” said Walmsley.

Indeed, recent research from Deloitte suggests that only one in five consumers is happy for businesses to use their personal information to offer them more personalised services. And while this goes up to more than one in four among the 16-24-year-old demographic – suggesting that the millennial generation is more comfortable with the concept – clearly more needs to done.

To grow and retain consumer’s trust, businesses need to demonstrate that the data consumers share with them is being used to serve them better by offering them more relevant and tailored products or services. They need to use that data responsibly, and not bombard the customer with spam. And perhaps more importantly given recent high-profile data breaches, businesses also need to be able to reassure consumers that they take consumer data privacy seriously, and that they have the right governance structures and security measures in place to protect it.

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