Consumers and dealerships mutually benefit from the convenience of having quick access to customer data, allowing for a more customized shopping experience in less time. However, since consumers are exposed almost daily to headlines highlighting yet another widespread security breach, it’s critical for dealerships to proactively address data privacy concerns and build consumer trust in the process.
Data protection is top-of-mind for consumers; and these worries extend beyond online and retail stores. According to a recent study, more than 75 percent of consumers will stop doing business with a company they cannot trust, while a similar number (67 percent) of consumers consider the security and privacy reputation of a brand before doing business. Successful dealerships will build consumer confidence and trust by being upfront about their privacy policies, and adding an important layer of trust to the buyer/seller relationship.
Privacy policies should provide details on how both Personal Information (PI) and Sensitive Personal Information (SPI) will be used in a sales situation. PI is any detail that identifies an individual or an individual’s vehicle, computer or mobile device. This includes names, email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and even social media accounts. SPI, on the other hand, is any information requiring a higher level of protection, such as social security numbers, driver’s licenses or VINs.
- Be transparent: Provide a readable, easily accessible privacy notice that doesn’t hide any information on what personal information is collected, what will be done with it, and with whom it is shared.
- Be fair, respect context and don’t overshare: When using private information, think about the context in which individuals provided the information. Avoid collecting, using or sharing private information in ways that consumers would find invasive.
- Collect what’s best and forget the rest: Data minimization is key. Strive to collect only the information that is useful for getting the job done. For example, if only the VIN and driver’s license is needed, you don’t have a need to also collect the customer’s social security number.
- Do what you’ll say you’ll do: Collect, use and share private information only as described in company policies and notices. If a customer feels as though a dealer took advantage of his or her information, this will tarnish the trust and possibly the relationship.
As the digital and social landscape continues to advance, dealerships will have more access to personal information than ever before. Remaining transparent, fair and communicative with the data collected and how it will be used is important for building trust with shoppers, ultimately leading to more vehicle sales and higher customer retention.