No matter what industry you’re in, trust is a vital aspect of your organization’s relationship with your customers. You’re providing valuable services to your customers, often requiring them to trust you with their personal information in exchange.
But trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. Nothing will cause you to lose customer trust faster than being irresponsible with their sensitive personal data. After so many breaches over the last few years, customers are becoming more educated about their personal data. That’s why we believe that adopting a data stewardship mindset can be key in building—and protecting—trust with your customers.
What is data stewardship?
Let’s start at the beginning: what is data stewardship?
A data stewardship mindset should guide all of your data collection, management, and usage policies and procedures. It requires evolving from the idea that data collection is simply a transfer of data ownership and rather a responsibility to protect the sensitive data that customers have shared with you.
Good data stewardship is about good business ethics and corporate responsibility. In a rapidly digitizing world, it is how organizations can effectively address data privacy concerns and regulations. And it is how you can build trust and productive relationships with your customers, vendors, employees, and partners.
Customer trust and the five tenets of data stewardship
There are five core tenets of data stewardship. These tenets work together to keep your customers’ data protected while earning—and keeping—their trust.
- Lawfulness: This one should be pretty straightforward: When your customers do business with your organization, they expect and trust that you are, at a minimum, following the laws or regulations required by the industry or geographic areas in which you operate.
- Fairness: Tricking customers into sharing their data or using it in an unethical way is a fast way to lose trust. This tenet calls upon your organization to provide opportunities for free and informed consent at the point of collection.
- Transparency: Transparency and honesty are at the core of trust. Your customers should know what data they are sharing, how it will be used, and how they can opt out.
- Relevancy: Have you ever filled out a form and wondered why they would need a certain bit of information? It makes you feel immediately skeptical, right? The data you collect must be limited to that which is necessary to perform the specified functions. Once the data is no longer needed, you must dispose of it.
- Security: No organization wants to be in the next headline about a data breach. It’s a nightmare for your customer relationships. We know that human error is the cause of many data breaches, so security cannot be the responsibility of the IT department alone.
How FormAssembly can help your organization practice data stewardship
Making the shift to a data stewardship mindset isn’t easy, but the right data collection solution can help streamline this process. At FormAssembly, our mission is to help our customers be good stewards of the data entrusted to them. We provide enterprise-grade security and compliance standards—HIPAA, GLBA, GDPR, CCPA, FedRAMP, and more—as well as ISO 27001, PCI DSS, and SOC 2 Type 2 certified.
Organizations can improve data governance and stewardship with our centralized data collection solution. Our platform helps ensure data quality at the point of data collection and provides visibility into data workflows to improve decision-making and strategic planning for executives.
Interested in building trust with your customers with data stewardship? Check out our white paper, Understanding the Importance of Data Stewardship.