Live from Gartner CRM Summit: Building ‘TRUST’

Mar 04, 2003 10:30 PM  By

(Direct Newsline) Harriet P. Pearson thinks a lot about trust – so much so that she’s created an acronym addressing customer data use around it.

For Pearson, IBM Corp.’s chief privacy officer, T.R.U.S.T. encompasses: Transforming business processes to a data-centric model; Responding on the fly to change and repelling threats to privacy; Understanding customer needs and wants; Serving those needs and wants; and creating Transparency of the whole process, so customers can know where the breakdowns come, should they come.

Pearson offered a wealth of statistics showing how much work the industry has ahead of it in building trust. Four out of five U.S. respondents left Websites more than once during a six-month period due to privacy concerns, according to a consumer Internet privacy survey by International Data Corp.

Additionally, 40% of all enterprise customer relationship management projects–including those already implemented–are being rethought to place more of an emphasis on privacy concerns, according to Gartner’s own research.

It may not be a case of too little too late, but marketers are going to have to do a heck of a sales job to convince consumers of their good intentions. Pearson noted that 43% of all consumers feel businesses have no incentive to protect consumer privacy. Only 39% said that businesses handle personal information properly and confidentially.

More that one-third of all consumers are now what she called “privacy fundamentalists,” who want all but the most limited uses of information stopped.

This figure is up significantly from the 14% of even a few years ago, possibly due to the fallout of post-Sept. 11 data-sharing proposals, Pearson said.

Another 60% or so are “privacy pragmatists,” who see data collection as a necessary part of doing business. And the rest are “privacy unconcerned,” a category whose ranks increase significantly among teenagers and consumers under the age of 25.

“Privacy is a middle-age concern,” Pearson said.

Marketers may be slowly coming around to acting on these concerns, but regulatory agencies are mindful of them. According to the Federal Trade Commission, only 20% of the most active Websites complied with four minimum consumer-information collection standards.

These standard include notice, such as opt-out notification; consumer choice regarding how collected data is used; data accessibility, so that consumers can correct and update their personal information; and security of the data repository.

While Pearson does not anticipate sweeping privacy legislation, she does feel that certain segments that have already come under scrutiny will continue to be the subject of regulatory legislation, including medical, financial services, and child-related data.