Customer Trust and Protecting Online Privacy

According to new research by Marketing Zeus, the majority of adults still do not trust companies to protect their privacy online.

Protecting their online privacy remains a top concern among consumers. In fact, 91% of adults in the U.S. worry about their online privacy, and these concerns are beginning to show. Facebook has long been criticized over user privacy issues and the company’s failure to respond to users’ concerns resulted in a score of only 61 in this year’s American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Business Report (to put that into context, Google+ scored a 78, and Facebook’s score last year was 66).

Ignoring privacy concerns or failing to protect consumers’/users’ privacy doesn’t just result in poor satisfaction scores — it can also lead to lost business. The aforementioned research found that 88% of adults actively avoid businesses that do not protect their online privacy, and this aversion is shared among all age groups.

If nothing else, this research is reinforcing the lessons learned by Path and Apple earlier this year: Emphasize privacy policy transparency and offer opt-outs. Path and other third-party app developers failed to disclose that they collect and store users’ address books without their permission. When news broke the site/app, considered to be the private alternative to Facebook, suffered a blow to their credibility — a blow that could have been avoided entirely had they been open and honest about the practice or offered users the opportunity to opt-out.

Of course, privacy isn’t the only concern among consumers. They’re also expecting to have their concerns addressed via brands’ social media accounts, and many aren’t meeting consumers’ expectations. Which brands are doing it well? Check out our full report.