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July 25th, 2019

What It Means to Earn Customers’ Cyber-Trust


News about privacy breaches dominate the headlines and make people wary about sharing their data. However, all is not lost. Companies can do some strategic things to encourage current or potential customers to trust them.

Trust Badges Can Make People Feel More Secure About Providing Payment Information

Trust badges are small graphics that companies show on their website to indicate that outside, well-known entities confirm they are legitimate.

Sleeknote studied the impact of trust badges on sales and conversion rates. Its content cited multiple studies that showed how some instances of cart abandonment occur when people don’t trust sites enough to provide their payment details.

Moreover, it also mentioned numerous case studies to emphasize how trust badges make people more willing to buy or carry out other desirable actions. Some business representatives may think trust badges are relatively small parts of a website’s content. However, these findings highlight why it could be worthwhile for a company to get one.

It Could Be Valuable to Highlight a Company’s Family-Owned Aspect

If companies are family-owned, numerous studies indicate that bringing attention to that fact helps build trust in customers. For example, one of the studies reported that 76% of applicable companies bring up their family-owned history in marketing materials to achieve many aims, including increased trust.

Additionally, if organizations are both family-owned and have the benefit of being in business for several decades, customers may conclude they’re doing something right to enjoy such longevity.

Companies Must Back up Their Words With Actions

Unfortunately for the companies that use it, the phrase “We take your privacy/security seriously” has become somewhat of a joke. That’s due to the prevalence of brands saying it when they acknowledge vulnerabilities, but don’t necessarily do something about them quickly enough.

In one particularly damning example, a cybersecurity expert profiled how he notified Panera Bread of a security issue that left customer data exposed. The company sat on the information for eight months. Even worse, the fix the company implemented didn’t fully resolve the identified issue.

Of course, there’s no harm in companies telling customers that security is a priority if that’s actually true. If it’s not, using the phrase meaninglessly because it sounds good could make people hesitant to do business with the offending companies.

Getting Security Certifications Facilitates Consumer Trust

If companies go through the process of earning security certifications, the decision to do so could help customers feel they’re trustworthy. For example, the ISO 27001 certification signifies that businesses take dedicated steps to keep information secure. It gives consumers confidence about data protection and upheld confidentiality.

Businesses that successfully get certified can then display logos on their websites. The especially proactive ones could even write blog posts that explain the significance of certification to people who don’t know.

Similarly, a study asked users in the United Kingdom about their perceptions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance. It found that 57% of customers would be more likely to use websites that have a certification mark or seal to indicate they align with GDPR requirements.

Control and Transparency Are Crucial for Fostering Trust

In 2018, Salesforce conducted research to find out more about customers’ feelings regarding privacy. The findings revealed some disheartening things that highlight how companies have lots of room for improvement if they want to make their audiences trust them. The conclusions showed that 59% of customers believe their data is vulnerable to security breaches, and 54% don’t think businesses have their interests in mind.

The Salesforce survey polled people to find out what companies could do to come across as more trustworthy, too. The top two responses, cited by 92% and 91% of participants, respectively, were giving customers control over the data that’s collected and being open about how the businesses use the information.

Google does that well in the Safety Center portion of its website. There are even data transparency and privacy control sections within the main page where people can learn more about the company’s practices or make desired changes.

Another way companies can be clear about how they use customer data is to make their privacy policies easier to understand. Outbrain accomplishes that with drop-down sections, as well as headers and bullet points that split up the material and help people find the most relevant parts.

A Consistent Commitment Speaks Volumes

Besides the specific things mentioned here, companies should strive to show consistency as they aim to earn people’s trust. Doing that demonstrates that businesses care about security over the long term, and not merely to temporarily boost profits or audience opinions.

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