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We all know that customer data is increasingly becoming valuable to businesses, and also, it is becoming a vital source for developing a competitive advantage.

Considering the explosion of various forms of digital technologies, companies are gathering a vast amount of data about the activities, preferences and behaviours of their consumers online and offline. Fueling this trend, of course, are smart and connected devices - everything from wearable fitness trackers to home appliance that gleans and dispatches detailed information.

While some companies are pretty open about their data collection practices (and by open, I mean you're inundated with indecipherable Terms of Agreements), most of them prefer to keep customers in the dark, choose control above sharing, and would rather seek forgiveness than permission.

Additionally, it is not shocking to hear of businesses that secretly collect personal information that they may or may not have any use for with the hope that it will be of value someday.

For all these reasons, and many more, consumers have become incredibly suspicious of how companies get their information - they have no faith in them.

As such, to win back customer trust, transparency is now becoming a crucial business imperative for the development of valuable products, services, and experiences.

Businesses must understand that these two entities - Trust and Transparency - go in hand. As they go about their endeavours, here are some other related tidbits to keep in mind:

1) Trust equals security in today's climate

As businesses create experiences for users, they must be mindful of the fact that to users, trust means security. They want to feel that their privacy is respected and that that the information is secure - free from threats of hacking.

2) There must be a mutually beneficial system set up

As businesses go about created targeted ads, for instance, they should be mindful of the fact that consumers want to feel that they're getting something in exchange for giving out their information. They don't just want to get targeted ad for no reason.

3) Make Terms of Agreement (TOA) easy to understand

If you've read any TOA, you know it's riddled with so much legal jargon and is lengthy in nature that you're less likely to read it.

If companies found a way to simplify these documents and were open about the "how" and "what" information, that would be a significant step towards being transparent and building trust with their customers.

I know it's easier said than done - it does require some time to implement such new policies that address these issues of consumer trust and business transparency. Albeit, as technology advances, and information continues to reign supreme, companies that keep these concepts in mind would be the most successful.

 

Written by David Fastuca @Locomote

 

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