Do consumers want to share their data with your company?

In May this year, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force, changing the way that businesses of all sizes handle the personal information they have on clients and consumers.

Companies have had to alter their privacy policies, update their mailing lists and let customers know exactly how their data will be stored and used in order to ensure their compliance with GDPR. The consequences for failing to do this can be huge, with potential penalties of up to millions of pounds.

This means that businesses need to be more careful than ever in obtaining and using personal data, but how do consumers themselves feel about this?

Are consumers happy to share their data post-GDPR?

According to new research carried out by DMA UK and Acxiom, more than half (51 per cent) of consumers are happy to share their data with companies, as long as they can see a clear benefit to doing so.

This finding featured in a report entitled ‘Global data privacy: What the consumer really thinks’, which also found that almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of people do have some degree of worry regarding their online privacy where their sensitive data is concerned.

What’s more, 78 per cent of those questioned said they believed businesses benefited from data sharing more than consumers did, which they felt was unfair.

The research involved consumers from across the world, finding that, across the board, 83 per cent of people would still like to have more control over their personal information. Although this was one of the principal aims of GDPR, it suggests that there is still a long way to go before consumers are completely happy with their data privacy.

Chris Combemale, chief executive of DMA, commented: “We are in a new era of data privacy. Questions have been raised about whether major data breaches and increased talk about the value of our personal data is impacting consumer anxiety over how their information is used.

“In fact, our research shows that even though consumers are more aware than ever and have concerns about their online data privacy, the majority will continue to share their personal information if they trust the organisation and gain something in return.”

How can companies ease consumers’ concerns?

The efforts that organisations put into getting their affairs in order in the run-up to GDPR coming into force, such as making their privacy policies clearer, should have gone some way towards easing customers’ data security concerns.

However, people spent the week before GDPR officially came in being bombarded with emails from brands and websites, which many simply ignored due to sheer volume. This means that many are still a little unsure how exactly their data is used and by whom.

With this in mind, it wouldn’t hurt for companies to get back in touch with their mailing lists (making sure anyone who did request to be deleted from it pre-GDPR has been removed, of course) to remind them where they can access your privacy policy, and go over how their data will be stored and used once more.

This will help to show that you foster a culture of transparency and value your customers’ concerns, and that you take their data privacy 100 per cent seriously.

Source: AM Online, ADMA

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