Building Trusted Relationships

There have been many factors contributing to the recent state of the economy, one of the largest being relationships in the banking industry. Lending between banks and from bank to consumers has slowed down drastically. The reason most often cited by financial journalists is counterparty risk - the breakdown of trust between various parties in the financial system. Lending institutions lost trust in consumers who were struggling or could not pay their mortgages. Consumers lost trust in their financial institutions to provide them with sound advice and financial instruments.

As more businesses are moving toward an online presence and into the mobile arena, a new era has evolved where trust has become the critical component of a company’s brand. Consumers want to know that a business brand can safeguard their online identity and privacy. They want to know that the brand will do as advertised. According to financial statistics from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), there were 336,655 total complaints filed with IC3 between January and December of 2009.

More and more businesses are recognizing the importance of data security, which directly translates to consumer trust. Building and maintaining consumer trust is a key factor in online and brick-and-mortar business models. In order to build trust with the consumers, businesses must apply the same principle with its employees and its business vendors and partners. This will ensure that every part of the business is functioning like a well-oiled machine with the goal of increasing the brand’s bottom-line. In an online survey, 88% of the online shoppers said that protection of their personal data was their top concern. A study published in April 2010, researchers at UC Berkley and University of Pennsylvania found that people in all walks of life and all age groups have made the protection of their personal information a high priority. Among the findings, 88% of people of all ages said they have refused to give out information to a business because they felt that it was too personal or unnecessary.

As a retailer, meeting PCI DSS (Data Security Standard) is one of the necessary steps to build consumer trust. With your entire business practice following the PCI DSS, you greatly reduce the chance of any breach and thus safeguard any consumer personal and financial information. As the technology evolves, so does this standard. This makes it increasingly challenging for businesses to keep and maintain data security standards. This is an inevitable and critical part of the business operation to continue, maintain, and build consumer trust.