Hyper-growth company? These 4 things should be on your to-do list

Niamh Cassidy


Did you #DeleteFacebook?

If you did, you weren’t alone. Since the revelation of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the tech giant’s shares have fallen by 14% and now fewer than half of Americans say they trust the platform.

They’re not the only ones with trust issues. In a hyper-growth industry like the sharing economy, it can be difficult to balance security against scale. But to continue growing long-term, it’s crucial.

If you’re struggling to build trust and integrity in your business, don’t panic. Here are four things you can add to your to-do list today.

1. Accept that data is dead….and start talking about it.


Did you know…? In 2017, US data breaches reached a record high of 1,579, affecting over 171 million Americans.

Once upon a time, you thought 12345 was a good password. But times change. The way we protect ourselves online has evolved – so why hasn’t the way we prove who we are?  The simple fact is that your name, address and SSN are no longer secure enough. It’s as easy for fraudsters to access your personal data as it is for them to guess ‘password123’ – that’s if they haven’t already.

It’s time to face facts. Databases are dead and our data is burnt. What now?

Financial services providers are already working hard to find a solution to the problem of confidently identifying people online. So’s the government – they’ve also been a victim of attacks, and are looking to the private sector for ideas. The only way to  find a solution is to change our mindsets. Data is dead, and it’s only by working collaboratively and sharing insights that we’re going to find an alternative. Even if you’re not in government or financial services, watch what they’re doing and get involved.

To do: Join working groups like One World Identity and attend events like Marketplace Risk. They’re bringing industries together and working with regulators to tackle the challenges facing all of us.

2. Remember trust needs to be earned...and be proactive about protecting it.

Did you know…? The probability of selling to a loyal customer is around 60-70%, as opposed to 5 - 20% for a new customer.

Whether you’re sharing your home, sharing a cab, or just letting somebody walk your dog, you need trust. The sharing economy revolves around it.  In fact, according to a recent PWC report, 89% of people feel that sharing economy is based on trust – but 69% of people don’t trust sharing economy companies unless they’ve been recommended by a friend.

That’s why if you earn customer loyalty, it’s imperative to protect it. Getting it wrong could cost you big. On average, companies experiencing a data breach see stock prices dip by 5% – while 65% of customers lose trust in the business.  

Clearly, it’s too expensive to risk losing trust. So be proactive. Don’t wait until the worst happens before putting protective measures in place.

To do: Put identity verification technology in place  to help you vet and monitor people using your platform. And start tracking some key metrics – how many times has a user been reported? How quickly can you remove bad actors from your platform, and how easy is it for them to get back on?


3. Embrace friction...and stock up your tech stack.

Did you know…? 31% of customers will end their relationship with a business if trust is lost.

Sharing economy companies often have one goal: grow, and grow fast. The pressure of venture backing means quantity can outweigh quality, and getting as many users onboarded as possible, as quickly as possible, is often the name of the game.

So it’s no surprise that sharing economy companies fear adding friction – but that can become a problem further down the line. The danger with prioritising a frictionless experience is that trust and safety become an afterthought, and crucial safeguards are only added in afterwards, when it’s already too late. While growth is important, you’ll soon see numbers drop off if you don’t build trust with your customers.

Think longer-term. There is such a thing as good friction, and it’s one of the easiest ways to keep the bad guys out. The key is to find a balance between a good user experience and a secure one.

To do: Set thresholds for adding in security depending on the size or value of the asset, so you’re not adding friction before it’s needed. The more risk signals you have in place, the better – but make sure you regularly e-evaluate them.

4. Empower users...and get them to do the hard work for you

Did you know…? Even a 5% increase in customer retention could lead to a 95% boost in your profits.

Relationships are a two way street – and it’s no different for you and your customers. Sure, their trust is important for your bottom line, but why should they care about that? To truly build lasting loyalty, you need to find a way to make it work for them, too. Get it right, and your customers can become your biggest allies – and your best salespeople. Protecting their privacy is a must – but how else can you add value and incentivise them to share their information?

A lot of companies are already looking at ways to engage their users. One of the most effective is to verify them. If you’re thinking that it sounds like another layer of friction then you’re right – it is. But allowing users to control their data and experience helps them build a more meaningful relationship with your company – one that you’ll both reap the benefits from in the long run.

To do: Encourage users to have ‘skin in the game’: reward them with a verified badge to let the whole community know they’ve been vetted, or offer them a reward by way of another service or opportunity.


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