A recent survey conducted by the ATT (Association of Accounting Technicians) has revealed that 44% of Brits worry about the way companies handle their personal data.
This of course comes after a handful of high profile data breaches that have taken over the headlines over recent months – including TalkTalk’s data breach which they’ve now received a record fine of £400,000 for and Yahoo confirming the biggest cyber-attack ever.
Customers are now much more conscious of businesses they choose to work with, and base their decisions on various factors; from charitable work, through to how they handle sensitive data. Protecting personal data is a perfect example of how not to “spook” your existing and potential clients – it’s advantageous to make your business the best it can be in order to win and retain work!
ISO helps settle customers’ nerves
The internationally recognised ISO Management Standards help businesses promote their values and what they stand for not only to their supply chain and shareholders, but their customers too. Organisations that have achieved ISO certification demonstrate that what gets measured, gets done.
RECOMMENDED READ: Who are ISO and what do they do?
ATT’s findings conclude that the 10 most important factors when customers choose businesses to engage with are:
- 44% – must be careful with sensitive client data
- 42% – shouldn’t engage in aggressive tax avoidance
- 39% – strict ethical code about their supply chain should be in place
- 35% – maximum transparency with regards to company accounts displayed
- 31% – should be environmentally conscious
- 29% – investment in employee training
- 21% – declare any conflicts of interest
- 18% – companies should support social causes
- 16% – family friendly businesses are preferred
- 16% – businesses should regularly donate to charities
Rob Alder, ATT’s Head of Business Development explained; “All businesses are reliant on their good reputation in order to survive and thrive, and this research shows the things businesses need to do to strengthen their reputation.”
Demonstrate you meet best practice
If you already have ISO certification in place, it’s a crime not to shout about it! Websites are often the first stop for many potential customers, and they’ll make a judgement in seconds. To avoid giving visitors a spook, build trust by displaying your credentials, backed up with an explanation of what they mean. While ISO standards are recognised worldwide, don’t presume a would-be client understands the hard work put into achieving certification and what it means for them – ensure you explain the benefits and how this sets you apart.
Fail to plan and you plan to fail
Sadly, small businesses often ignore the importance of planning and processes – and the adage ‘fail to plan and you plan to fail’ comes true. With 44% of those surveyed saying businesses need to handle client data securely, it proves the importance of secure systems. Our recent guide explores and explains cyber threats that could come from within the business.
RECOMMENDED READ: The importance of a business plan