New Zealand businesses are now, more than ever, competing on a global stage. To ensure New Zealand businesses can build and sustain meaningful customer relationships they need to have a point of difference – they need to make trust a business imperative.
“Companies that ignore the trust imperative will lose 10% to 40% of their customers, starting with those unwilling to forgive firms for breaching their trust.” - Forrester, Predictions 2022
So how does a business go about building trust when their customer relationships involve the collection and use of personal data? Businesses should adopt a customer-centric approach by design. Taking this approach means building and implementing products and processes that, by design, can ensure that customer data will be dealt with in a transparent, ethical, and culturally appropriate manner.
Companies can leverage a wealth of existing knowledge in doing this. One example is the Ngā Tikanga Paihere (2020) framework that draws from 10 Te Ao Māori concepts (customary practices) to assist businesses that collect and use data to engage in, and consider, an ethical and customer-centric approach.
The Ngā Tikanga Paihere framework was developed by Stats NZ and Māui Hudson, Associate Professor at Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao, Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, University of Waikato. While the framework was originally designed to build trust in Stats NZ Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) (a research database) by providing guidance about the appropriate use of micro-data and Māori data for research purposes, the principles are intended to be transferable to the use of data in any context.
“Tikanga Māori accompanies Māori wherever they go and whatever they do. Tikanga Māori is adaptable, flexible, transferable, and capable of being applied to entirely new situations.” - Ngā Tikanga Paihere Guidelines (2020)
We consider that these framework principles can be applied in a commercial context to assist businesses create better data insights and build and sustain more effective and meaningful customer relationships.
The 10 Te Ao Māori concepts are:
- Pūkenga (knowledge and experience) – demonstrate an awareness and respect towards the customers and their respective communities that you will be collecting data from.
- Whakapapa (community relationships) – establish appropriate relationships with those customers and communities and leverage their insights to add value.
- Pono (accountability and transparency) – be transparent with, and accountable to, your customers and communities that you are collecting data from.
- Tika (value for all) – consider if the use of your customer’s data will add value to your customer and their respective communities, and for New Zealanders generally.
- Wānanga (organisations) – draw from existing data standards and practices and from other institutions that have established systems, policies, and procedures to support culturally and ethically appropriate practices when using customer data.
- Kaitiaki (data stewardship and governance) – develop and consistently apply careful, responsible, and ethical practices.
- Wairua (community good) – question if your purpose for collecting and using data aligns with the values of your customers and consider how any risk of harm from collection and use could be mitigated.
- Mauri (data transformation and provenance) – understand the purpose for your collection and use of data and consider if these purposes may transform over time by creating data insights or other outputs.
- Tapu (sensitivity and risk) – identify any sensitivities and privacy issues that arise from the collection, use and integration of data, including the nature of data (i.e. health care or financial information) and the extent of associated risk and harm.
- Noa (benefit and opportunity) – consider the benefits of integrating and sharing data with your customers, and other relevant organisations (with consent), and balance this with the issues identified under Mauri and Tapu.
In an age where customers are faced with an immeasurable amount of choice between global providers, trust will be a key differentiator. The principles of Ngā Tikanga Paihere are a useful resource that can assist New Zealand businesses in thinking about how they can build trust by adopting a customer-centric approach. New Zealand businesses that can build and maintain meaningful customer relationships based on trust will undoubtedly have a competitive advantage on the global stage.