This summer it was revealed that businesses have been able to buy personal data for as little as 32p, which makes data not only easy to source but also a profitable money-spinner for organisations. Yet a recent survey revealed that consumers are still hesitant to share their data. It is therefore hard for organisations to get the full benefit that customer intelligence could deliver.

What Are The Challenges?

The advent of the Internet has had a big impact on how people share their personal information, with one in three people sharing less, compared to only 20% who share more. Four in ten people also admit that social media makes them more cautious about sharing personal information online.

Consumer attitudes to their personal data are changing and can also be contradictory. For example, a third of consumers stated that they would be extremely concerned if their bank details were stolen, yet almost four in ten have shared their PIN number with a colleague, friend or family member.

Exploring The True Benefits

With research from SAS identifying that better customer intelligence from big data could deliver £73.8 billion to the UK economy by 2017, customer data is of real value to businesses. Consumer spending accounts for over 60% of UK GDP, meaning that enhanced customer intelligence, informed by big data, will have a significant impact on the national economy. This is down to data-driven improvements in targeted customer marketing and the analytical evaluation of customer behaviour.

Who Wins?

It’s a tricky time to be a bank. Financial institutions are facing a tough economic and political climate as well as a fast-changing regulatory landscape. On top of all that, consumer confidence is low. Yet when consumers were asked which industry sector they trust the most when it comes to their personal data, 68% of people would trust the financial sector to deal with their information, compared to only 15% in the retail sector and 9% in the charity sector.

What Is The Financial Sector Doing Right?

The financial services sector tends to be more concerned about data privacy than other industries, which largely stems from fears of reputational damage from breaches in customer data security rather than pressure from any regulator. The 2013 Cost of Data Breach Study puts the average global cost of a data breach at $136 a record in 2012, up $6 from in 2011.

The secret to banks’ success is that they build security in to everything do, whether it’s internal processes or third parties who are being entrusted with customer data. For example, it’s crucial to choose a data centre that provides the reliable and secure environment needed to keep customer data safe, from biometrics and CCTV to stringent SLAs and fire and water detection.

If organisations are to reap the rewards of all the consumer data that they hold then it’s crucial to maintain consumer trust, particularly as data security is an issue that continues to hit the headlines. With banks coming out on top when it comes to consumer trust around their personal data, there is scope for other organisations to take a leaf out of their book and proactively invest in and communicate the stringent measures they have in place to keep customer data safe. The risk of not doing so it to miss out on the benefits customer intelligence can provide.