How to: 5 top tips for handling consumer information

15 Feb 2017

  • Data
  • Privacy and Compliance

Increasing numbers of Australian consumers are realising the importance data plays in their everyday lives.

Positively for companies, consumers remain open to sharing their information across a range of situations, such as when purchasing something, or when they’re a member of a loyalty programme.

As demonstrated in the ADMA privacy research project ‘Attitudes to Information Sharing, Privacy & Trust’, 83% of Australian consumers belong to at least one loyalty program and further, a majority of those members (76%) are open to sharing information with them.

Amongst some consumers, there is recognition of the data-value exchange, with these consumers more open to sharing their information in return for benefits. However, consumers don’t always trust the companies with which they are sharing their information.

Much of this discomfort appears to be driven by a lack of understanding of what companies do with the information they have, in particular, to whom information is passed/sold onto.

Transparency with consumers is essential to engender trust and ensure that consumers continue being open to sharing their information.

The research has identified 5 best practice initiatives that have been built from direct consumer feedback. It’s recommend that, where possible, companies implement as many of these initiatives to help make consumers feel more comfortable and grow trust.

These initiatives include:

1. Considerations when sharing data with 3rd parties
• Ask for consent first. This should be proper informed consent where the consumer understands what they are agreeing to,
• If passing on information, keep it de-identified (i.e. aggregated and anonymous)
• Be cautious selling personal information for a financial benefit

2. Don’t be greedy by asking for too much information.
Consumers are less open to providing information if too much is being asked. Respect the information hierarchy by attempting to collect less sensitive information.

3. Help consumers feel in control by giving them options.
For example, options to remove information from company records, and not to receive marketing materials. A transparent opt-out policy is recommended to achieve this.

4. Help consumers understand what information is being collected and how it is being used.
Consumers don’t want a confusing privacy policy that makes them feel like things are being hidden from them. Their preference is for clear, simple, and transparent policies and documents that help them truly understand.

5. Ensure marketing and communications are relevant.
Consumers are open to receiving information if it’s relevant however irrelevant information or too frequent communications will stop the information flow in its tracks.

Find out more in the ADMA Compliance Hub.

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