How you handle customers data is a fine balance

by Steve Randall on 09 Dec 2018

Mortgage brokers and real estate agents are expected to handle clients’ data securely and to ensure they are clear on why and how it’s used.

A global survey by KPMG shows that Canadians are generally more trusting of banking providers than the global average (82% vs 71%) and far more than they trust retailers (6%) or advertisers (4%).

However, getting it wrong would be a costly mistake.

"Canadians are generally comfortable when it comes to trusting their information to an organization or institution with whom they have a relationship, especially when they feel that the organization has a legitimate reason to collect it," says Sylvia Kingsmill, National Leader, Digital Privacy and Compliance, Forensic Services. "But the implicit contract is that this data goes no further. It's fine for the company to whom we knowingly provide our data to use this in ways we expect or consent to, but it's simply not acceptable for this to be misused, manipulated, sold or exposed.”

Kingsmill adds that customers are beginning to realise the value of their data and are much less inclined to share it than before. That means that businesses need to be clear why they are collecting the data, how they protect it, and who they plan to share it with.

Customer trust is fleeting
"Companies need to recognize how valuable - and fleeting - customer trust is," says Peter Hughes, Customer and Digital Services Leader, KPMG in Canada. "As consumers continue to migrate to online platforms and expectations for a leading digital experience rise, the companies who are able to earn customer trust will gain much needed insight that will deepen relationships and sales. Those that don't will fail."

Hughes adds that transparency and effective communication are key to reassuring customers that their data is in safe hands and that it is being used in their benefit.

"Canadian businesses need to achieve that fine balance between providing a data-driven personalized experience, and winning customer trust. And they have to believe that if they don't, their competitors will, wherever or whoever they may be," he said.


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