Four out of five consumers (81%) believe more should be done by governments or brands to ensure their personal information is protected, according to a study by customer intelligence platform provider Vision Critical. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

The study examined consumer attitudes and expectations around the collection, usage, and storage of their personal data by brands, surveying more than 1,500 people in the UK, France, and Germany (over the age of 18) who had completed an online purchase within the previous twelve months.

The vast majority of respondents (87%) said they would be more comfortable sharing data if they had more control over it - that is, if they could see the data being stored about them or they could easily change or delete it. The findings suggest that when brands offer a heightened level of transparency and control around consumers' personal data, those consumers are more likely to share information that can be used to deliver improved brand experiences, ultimately leading to an increase in affinity and loyalty.

Vision Critical's findings support the core ethos of The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect on May 25th, underscoring that the new regulations are in alignment with consumer expectations. These additional findings include:

  • 55% of customers are unsure how their information is used and shared by brands, along with what policies exist to protect their data.
  • Only 12% of customers believe that their personal information is used thoughtfully by the brands they share it with.
  • Only 37% of customers are likely to share personal information when engaging with a brand.
  • 84% of consumers are comfortable with brands using information they have shared directly to offer better personalized messages, with 48% stating they respond better to more targeted messages.

"With customer concerns regarding data usage on the rise, it's more important than ever for brands to move away from an extraction-only mentality and towards a relationship-based approach that puts the entire customer (not only their information) at the center of the business," said Scott Miller, CEO, Vision Critical. "In conducting this study, we confirmed that the more proactively brands nurture relationships with their customer base, the better their ability to understand their customers' wants and needs. By offering more transparency in their data collection and ensuring they provide value back to the customers who provide information, brands are able to create genuine, long-lasting relationships with consumers that are worth more than any singular data point."