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What Is Digital Trust & Why Does It Matter for Your Business?

Trust is the foundation of strong customer relationships.

In the past, trust was commonly seen as a strong belief, on the part of the customers, that a brand is honest and able to consistently deliver on promises. 

However, with the advent of digitalisation, new business practices have emerged, giving rise to a new type of trust known as digital trust. 

Digital trust is the confidence consumers have in a business to protect their data and provide a secure space for transactions and interactions. 

Just think – Every time a customer makes a purchase online, they entrust your business with their personal information, including full name and card number. 

In the unfortunate event of a data breach, they will lose trust in your business, making it less probable to do business with you again. 

Read on to find out why digital trust is key to your business’s success and how to address low user confidence in today’s digital world. 

Table of contents: 

  1. Digital trust: Why it’s important for your business
  2. How your small business can develop digital trust 

1. Digital Trust: Why It’s Important for Your Business

Establishing Digital Trust with Customers

We live in a digital world. 

Technology has transformed the way we do just about anything. That’s why establishing digital trust is the first step for any customer interaction.

Building a solid digital trust foundation requires understanding the risk associated with providing personal data online.

Personal data (that can be anything from credit card information, ID number, online passwords, social security numbers, etc.) can be stolen and used by hackers and scammers to impersonate you. 

According to ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), the second half of 2022 witnessed a staggering 40 large-scale data breaches. 

During that period, a total of 497 data breaches were recorded.

Additionally, security risks appear to be higher for small businesses. 

For example, Melbourne-based cyber security firm Kaine Mathrick Tech reveals that Australian SME businesses bear the brunt of 43% of cyber attacks, with a mere 5% of their data folders being adequately protected.

While large-scale breaches are those that often make the news, you shouldn’t assume that running a startup or small business exempts you from being a potential target, especially if you rely on cloud-based applications for critical operations. 

Does that ring alarm bells?

These statistics only underscore the pressing need for trust in today’s data-driven world. 

If you can deliver on your customers’ expectations regarding the security and privacy of their data, then you can earn their trust and make them stick around. 

Trusting an Online Business

There is a handful of reasons why digital trust is key to your company’s success, including:

  • Reputation management – Establishing digital trust helps you better manage your online reputation. Having a positive reputation among customers helps drive sales and improve profitability.    
  • Customer loyalty – Your customers are more likely to remain loyal and make repeat purchases if they feel safe sharing their personal data with you. 
  • Competitive edge – Building digital trust helps you gain a competitive edge. If you prioritise the security of your customers’ data, your business is more likely to grow than your competitors who do not put much emphasis on customer data privacy. 
  • Fewer data breaches and cyberattacks – By implementing solid security measures, you can reduce the risk of privacy breaches and cyberattacks that often result in huge financial and reputational losses and may even kill your business. 
  • Stronger business partnerships – Building digital trust helps you establish stronger partnerships with other businesses, increasing the chances to be sought after collaborations and strategic alliances. 

Now, let’s dive deeper into the topic of trust by exploring a few strategies to help you ensure your customer’s information is kept safe. 

2. How Your Small Business Can Develop Digital Trust

Creating Digital Trust with a Virtual Office

Let’s recap: building digital trust enables your business to create a solid customer base, increase customer loyalty, gain a competitive advantage, and establish stronger partnerships. 

But how do you actually go about establishing digital trust?

Below are a few key steps that can help your business on its path to creating digital trust:

  • Use cybersecurity software tools to avoid cyberattacks, unauthorised data access, and identity theft. There is no one-size-fits-all when choosing the best cybersecurity software for your business, so it’s important to consider factors such as your business size, industry, the type of data it handles, and its cybersecurity risk profile. 
  • If you’re running a small business from home, make sure you protect your privacy and that of your clients by using a professional business address or virtual office for your mail. As parcel theft is on the rise across Australia, you want to avoid the potential theft of important physical mail and documents. Not to mention that it’s not uncommon for criminal networks to specifically target small businesses and access client data in this way. 
  • Have a privacy policy for data storage and access – This is an important document that details all the ways in which your website users’ data may be used. If your business has to comply with the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), it is a legal requirement to have a privacy policy. However, even if you are not required to comply with the APPs, it’s best to have a privacy policy to show transparency in privacy practices and instil confidence in your customers.  
  • Make sure you have procedures to handle data privacy breaches. Even if you follow appropriate security protocols, it’s still important to have an incident response plan. This is because there is no foolproof method that guarantees 100% prevention of data breaches. Your incident response plan should cover key elements such as a business continuity plan, available resources, processes for data recovery, and communication protocols. 
  • Invest in digital literacy (that is, the ability to use digital technology to communicate information). According to the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI), digital literacy is a necessary condition for digital trust because individuals with digital skills need to be assured of their data privacy. They have the ability to identify secure payment gateways, comprehend encryption protocols, and embrace safe online shopping practices. It’s hard to trust what you don’t understand, so investing in digital literacy enables you to ensure data security and foster trust.

The Bottom Line

Using a Virtual Office to Build Digital Trust

In today’s data-driven world, customers have become highly knowledgeable and vigilant about the risks associated with data breaches and unauthorised data sharing. 

This has made potential customers more discerning, demanding that businesses showcase their commitment to protecting their personal information and maintaining transparent data policies. 

Simply put, without digital trust, people are unlikely to do business with you.

The practices listed in this article are a good place to start to establish digital trust, make your company more ethical, and, ultimately, drive profit growth.

Ready to build digital trust for your home-based business? With a virtual office from B2B HQ, you’ll get a permanent, unique business address and secure mailbox to ensure the safe and confidential management of your important correspondence. This will help you avoid data theft and reinforce your commitment to data privacy. Contact us now to get started.    

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