Article

Janki Sharma
Janki Sharma 31 January 2023

How to Collect Customer Feedback While Protecting Their Private Information

If you want to see your business thrive, you’ll need a clear picture of what’s going well, what’s not, and where you can grow. And these judgments are impossible to make without high-quality customer feedback.

Technology and industry developments offer more options for gathering feedback than ever before. Reviews, surveys, forms, and direct messages can be delivered on numerous platforms and are commonly used in nearly every consumer industry.

But increased accessibility has also led to increased risk.

According to AAG, cybercrime affected around 53 million Americans during the first half of 2022. Headlines like these are enough to scare any business owner or user when navigating the online world.

With this in mind, you might be wondering…

  • How can I collect crucial feedback despite growing privacy concerns?

  • What does a solid plan for maintaining customer privacy look like?

  • How are data security and customer feedback related?

  • How can all of this help me in the long run?

You’ve come to the right place! Today, we’ll be answering these questions and more.

Let’s take a look at five essential aspects of fortifying your customer privacy plan, with a special focus on how these protections support your efforts to gain valuable feedback from your customers.

Let’s get started!

Develop Policies for Cybersecurity

Establishing and maintaining effective cybersecurity policies will impact your ability to communicate effectively with customers and more.

The 15 million data records exposed through breaches during the third quarter of 2022 show that the safety and survival of your organization may be at stake.

An infographic shows statistics related to cybercrime.

(Image Source)

That’s why it’s essential to start by identifying the risks and vulnerabilities that are relevant to your business. What types of information and organizational systems will you need to secure? What are some common pitfalls and proven resources for your industry?

Be sure to also consider the requirements of data governance laws that apply to your work, such as HIPPA, Export Administration Regulations, and PCI Security Standards.

Take responsibility for understanding and complying with these regulations from the beginning to ensure peace of mind later on.

Once your cybersecurity policies have been created, develop a plan to test and adjust them as needed.

You can accomplish this by scheduling “tabletop” drills, during which a hypothetical security situation is proposed and you and your team discuss the best ways to respond. Your team can also prepare by responding to simulations of actual security breaches and threats.

Strategies like these support your ability to provide customer feedback as prevention is always the best line of defense. You’ll be in a much better position to respond to your customer’s needs as an organization with a solid history of secure transactions.

Control Data Access

From promoting the hottest new restaurant in town to showing off your latest Revvi credit card review, every business has different needs for customer data.

An advertisement for Kudos credit cards.

(Image Source)

Identifying the members of your team and what types of data they'll have access to is an essential part of creating your cybersecurity plan. For each role in your organization, decide which types of information that person needs.

If your marketing team never uses customer account information, it shouldn’t be made available to them. Your customer service staff may not need access to sales leads, either.

You’ll also need to decide what type of access each staffer needs for each type of information. Ask yourself which employees need to be able to view, modify, store, or delete different types of sensitive information and adjust their permissions accordingly.

When customers observe that their feedback is handled by someone who understands their role in a well-designed system, they’re much more likely to have a positive experience. 

Establish a Data Governance Plan

A data governance plan is an overarching set of policies that covers some of the areas we’ve already discussed: Levels of information, access for different roles, and appropriate responses to cybersecurity threats.

A diagram lists the components of a data governance plan.

(Image Source)

It should also include details about how and where the sensitive data your company possesses will be stored. The plan should outline policies and procedures for acquiring, transmitting, and removing data.

The best-designed data governance plans detail the tools and resources that'll be needed to achieve its goals. Be ready to monitor and adjust the plan as you discover new needs and issues.

This overall framework for how your organization handles data is necessary if you want to set yourself up for long-term success as you collect customer feedback.

You should assume that your audience is already aware of the growing privacy risks associated with sharing their data. You can build trust in your organization by showing that you’re prepared to handle their information safely. 

Provide Thorough Training

None of these plans and policies will help you unless you’ve effectively communicated them to your team.

Develop and schedule training materials and events that'll help each member of your organization understand their role in cybersecurity, data governance, and protecting customer privacy.

Consider how you’ll monitor and adjust these trainings for maximum effectiveness. For instance, consider using one of the best Notion widgets to create daily dashboards and training reports.

Analyzing responses to the drills mentioned above can also provide valuable insight into how well your staff understands and implements these policies. Use this information to adjust course, when needed.

During training, make sure all team members have access to any necessary tools and that they know how to use them effectively.

Confident, knowledgeable staff members should be prepared to receive feedback and respond in a way that’s professional and constructive after receiving proper training.

Be Transparent

Developing roles and policies for cybersecurity and data governance isn't just about preparing for the worst. Investing time and energy in these tasks can help you save face and build more trust with prospects and customers alike.

So, once your plan has been developed, tweaked, and tested, publicize it! Make sure that it’s available on your company’s internal and external websites. Create digital and physical copies that are easy to read and ready to distribute. 

For instance, in the example below, VShojo, a video blogger talent agency, revised some of its cybersecurity protocols after a rash of cyberattacks.

After finalizing changes, VShojo posted a link and images of its new policies on Twitter, complete with a dedicated graphic.

A tweet from Vshojo.

(Image Source)

Going the extra mile like this can inspire confidence in your brand, even after a negative incident.

Be sure to also include frequently asked questions in your staff training so that customers who question your ability to protect their data are met with a satisfying answer.

If mishaps occur, take ownership and have a plan for how you’ll respond.

Your willingness to communicate with your audience about these issues can improve your ability to gain useful customer feedback. 

Additional Tips

Here are some bonus tips to help you protect customer information when collecting feedback.

Offer Anonymity 

A guaranteed way to protect your customer’s privacy is to avoid asking them to identify themselves at all. Review the data collection methods that you are using or considering, and identify any that would still be effective without personal identification.

Reviews, complaints, and suggestions can still offer plenty of insight and value when submitted anonymously.

Gathering feedback in this way has the added benefit of making some respondents feel more comfortable sharing their honest opinions.

Update Software

Many of the most crucial features that support your privacy protection strategy rely on software that must be updated regularly. 

These updates allow your devices and programs to run smoothly, use the latest program features, and remain compatible with your other systems.

Develop and communicate a plan for who’ll maintain updates on which systems. Communicate about how often those updates need to occur.

Many of these updates will initiate automatically, but having some members of your staff overseeing this is a best practice.

Communicate Policy Changes

As your needs and circumstances evolve over time, you may need to update some of your privacy and security policies. Make sure that you’re communicating this with your customers.

Ensure that you’re doing this in a way that complies with local regulations and promotes a positive image for your brand.

Think Ahead

Making commitments like these can help business owners at every stage of their journey.

If you and your business are just starting out, you can establish good habits and begin reaping the benefits of having developed customer privacy measures right from the beginning.

Experienced business owners can build on past success or repair damage by making improvements in these areas.

And if you decide to find buyers for your business one day, data security will have an impact on its valuation, especially if you manage a lot of personal information.

In other words, continue looking ahead and refining your privacy measures.

Wrap Up

The danger that mishandling your business' security and privacy protections can lead to is clear. But you shouldn’t let that stop you from seeking out the customer input that your organization needs to grow!

The good news?

With the right framework in place, you can protect yourself and your customers while receiving a steady flow of useful feedback from your clients.

Phew.

That’s it for today, friends.

To your success.

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