Trust is a sacred thing. Just ask those that have breached it and you will understand the impact trust has on your business. It goes beyond the standard missives we hear in the media or on company’s websites. There is no leeway with the relationship between a customer and a business – the slightest doubt of trust could spoil the efforts gone into creating trust in the first place. It is fragile and the backbone to long-term viability.
So why do so many companies in the mobile and pervasive computing industry simply roll the dice with trust? Why do they collect so much data when they don’t need it and why do they not make trust as important as UI and UX? Preventing a breach is very difficult these days so we need to understand what to do once once the breach has happened or trust has been diminished. That’s where TRUSTe comes in – as experts in the creating trust in the first place and restoring trust in companies that have suffered a mishap.
If you listen closely to Richard Qiu, VP Biz Dev Mobile at TRUSTe, you will understand the implications of trust and the importance of planning – pre-planning – in order to prevent a catastrophe from happening before, during and after a serious breach of trust. You will also get an understanding on why it is so important to build trust and how to establish it from the start.
Don’t chance it. Don’t wait to develop a mobile strategy around trust. The industry we are in is highly competitive and, often times, companies focus on user collection instead of customer confidence. Trust is the first step to longevity so please don’t ignore what Richard has to say.
Here is a quick reference of what we covered in the show. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip
1. What is TRUSTe 1:23
2. What is an example of what TRUSTe does 2:40
3. How did you end up at TRUSTe 3:40
4. Are we ready for the offline and mobile data marriage 8:10
5. Why is trust so important to the success of mobile initiatives 10:40
6. What are the implications of negative trust? 13:20
7. Examples of how companies break or lose trust 14:45
8. Why “trust by design” is the appropriate strategy 18:50
9. What can companies do if trust is breached – how do they recover? 19:45
10. Can the mobile industry survive a massive breach of trust? 22:30
11. What is the impact of collecting more data? Is there a greater risk of a breach? 25:45
12. Collecting data is one aspect, do developers understand how to store it? 27:45
13. What about data disposal when companies go out of business or get acquired? 30:05
14. Where do people start with trust 34:40
15. What does it take to get the TRUSTe badge on an app or website 41:35
16. How often does TRUSTe reassess its business 43:40
My key takeaways
Design your trust experience
Trust happens because it is a process, because there is confidence, because it has been planned for. A consumer may buy a product because of other reasons but the way the company interacts with that consumer will dictate how long that buyer remains a customer. From the very start – the first interaction – mobile companies need to be thinking about the trust experience from their customer’s perspective. This industry needs to set expectations and offer full disclosure of what is being collected and why and what are the steps they will take in order to ensure trust is not breached.
Take a moment to think about your business right now. If something went wrong – if data escaped or privacy was violated in some way – would your customers jump ship or be committed enough to remain by you as you rectify. If you are constantly in fear of something happening and your customers fleeing you know the answer. Breaches will happen, the thing that sets your company apart is the trust relationship you have built to that point. Design it or don’t but suffer the consequences should something go wrong.
Be clear about what you are collecting and why
This comes up often in conversation and for good reason. Just because you can collect every last piece of data from a smartphone doesn’t mean you should. What are the key metrics you should be collecting? That is the only data that should cross the spectrum but be very clear to your customers what it is you are collecting, why you are collecting it and how you plan on using it to their benefit.
The thing about data is that it is freely available but can you imagine if you only needed to collect the city of the smartphone owner but you collected 300 other points and that data was breached? That would ruin trust and put your users in a vulnerable position they don’t need to be in. Collect what you need, use what you collect and make sure your customers understand why.
Offer a clear data disposal policy
Shredders. Old school I know but this is exactly what we need to be thinking about in the mobile world. Shredders. What happens to data when a company goes out of business or is acquired? Who owns that data when something like this happens? Where does it go? How is it destroyed or transfered and has that been clearly communicated? We need to be looking at digital shredding strategies for data because of the rapid level of innovation in mobile and pervasive computing. Companies are rising, collecting data and disappearing at alarming rates and we should all be aware of what happens to our data once we are “allowed” to extract it from their servers.
What is your data disposal strategy? I’m not talking about allowing people to download their data, I’m talking about what happens when you shut your doors or sell your company or pivot. It needs to be clear what the intent is for the data and, once it is no longer needed, what happens to it. Do you have a data disposal policy?
Use experts to prevent a breach of trust
There are people and companies out there that know what they are talking about when it comes to trust and helping your company avoid breaking it with your customers. Think of it as preparing for disaster – like you already do with regular data backups right? This is absolutely a vitamin and hard to sell because it is preventative and, perhaps, a little bit of wolf-crying to the executives but if trust is core to your business (which it is for EVERYONE), you need to consider prevention. Having a trusted third-party evaluate your readiness and going through their process and validate your approach will ease the concern for your current and future customers.
There is a reason organizations like TRUSTe and the BBB have seen their brands become industry standards – they evoke trust which is exactly what you want to do. Take some time to do this first. Don’t wait until you need to restore trust, that is too late.
Don’t wait, start now
I can’t stress this enough. Even if you can’t afford to hire experts or build a massive strategy around trust and preventing breaches, you can write your viewpoint and thoughts into a strategy to help shed light on what you are doing with the data you collect and how you plan on storing it and disposing of it. Start today. Your customers will love you for it and you will set an example for the industry. Trust is not easily given but quickly ruined. Get in front of this now. Don’t hide from it – that sends a message doesn’t it?
What do you think? Also, what do you think of the new format for the episodes? Do you like the chapters for quick reference? The takeaways? What else would you like to see. Leave a comment or two below or email me.
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About Richard Qiu
Richard is responsible for identifying, developing and executing on new business opportunities in areas of online privacy, mobile media, online advertising and data management at TRUSTe. An expert in mobile, digital media and advertising, Richard has extensive experience in launching new products, developing new markets and building successful business. Most recently, Richard was EVP of Business Development at 4INFO and a key figure in shaping 4INFO’s growth from a messaging powerhouse to a diversified mobile advertising, technology and media company, and instrumental in driving its platform strategy and the direction of mobile publishing and advertising.
Prior to 4INFO, Richard was VP of Worldwide Business Development at FanBox, a mobile data and billing company that pioneered mobile social community. Prior to that, Richard was AVP of business and client development for BeVocal, where he was responsible for key customer and strategic partnerships with telecommunications carriers, cable operators and media businesses. Prior to BeVocal, Richard has also spearheaded business development and sales at Yodlee. Earlier, Richard was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. Richard holds a MBA from the University of Chicago and a PhD in Engineering from the Vanderbilt University.