Grant McGregor News

How the GDPR can help to re-establish a great relationship with your customers.

March 19 2018

Since it landed in 2015, the GDPR is a big leap in data protection legislation and with the ruling applicable across the whole of Europe, we are finally bridging the gap between our digital identities and the law.

But even if the GDPR is long overdue, with such a huge shift in data privacy it can be hard to see past the bureaucratic nightmare of creating and implementing new data processes across your entire business.

No matter where you are with your planning, the main stumbling block with making these changes, is that data processing is applicable across every aspect of your business. From retaining your marketing channels to the legal and financial implications of future possible mistakes, from accounting and payroll to recruiting processing and HR, the GDPR will affect everything.

It sounds daunting when you present it in these terms, doesn’t it?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued some practical GDPR guidance in the form of their ICO ’12 Steps to Take Now’ document. However, there hasn’t exactly been a clear, Government-led awareness marketing campaign to explain what businesses need to do next.

In fact, according to a recent Bitdefender survey, more than 7 in 10 IT decision makers believe the UK government should have done more to explain to organisations what the GDPR is and how they should best prepare.

Instead this void seems to have been filled with lots of vendors and ‘experts’ using GDPR scare-stories as something of a catalyst for a sales uptick. So for many businesses, it can be hard to see the fast-approaching deadline as anything other than a burden.

So, before feeling overwhelmed with abstract legislation and how much hard work this will surely be, we want to position the GDPR in a way that it should make it worth the extra meetings.

Let’s revisit our Customer and HR focus.

Digital processing has been the standard for over thirty years, and with your customer’s information helping to drive more strategically-directed products and services, every company knows just how good data impacts the quality of your research, your sales and ultimately your revenue.

Smart marketing teams spend years creating the best personalised adverts that show a client exactly what is most likely to suit their needs. We, as companies, have collected huge amounts of information in order to help create this intelligent pitch, and when questioned as to why, we reply with confidence that we are doing this to save their time, to show our clients that we truly understand them, and so they know that we care enough to do our research properly.

Ultimately, we claim that we do it to put the customer’s needs first.

But we are also fully aware that customers do not like the idea of targeted advertising. Many don’t even like the idea of cookies tracking their preferences, and even the most non technically-minded are uneasy with the knowledge that we are holding and storing data about them. With breaches and leaks making mainstream news on a regular basis, the best way to use the GDPR is as a tool to reassure your customers that you are being responsible with their personal information.

Let’s set aside the administration burden for a moment, and keep the focus clear. Your objective is to let your customers know their information will be treated as the valuable property that it is.

Keeping your thinking transparent and your processes consistent.

Your data, as a customer, is useful because it tells a company about you. However, the data is also yours, and you should be allowed to request access to it, look at it and even erase it, especially if it’s no longer relevant. Get into the mindset that your customer’s data is their own property, so that when it’s borrowed, permission is given and it’s treated with due care.

The GDPR is bringing your customer base back into focus, so be the first to broach it with them. Send your mailing list a message explaining that as you want to contact them when it suits them, and only on their terms. Make opt outs clear and simple, and you will end up ridding your company of its outdated contacts and uninterested parties, and your clients will respect your forward planning and respect.

Re-establishing honest communication.

Align yourself and your company with the legislation. The laws are there to help keep data clearly sorted, accessible when needed and then safely deleted when it’s no longer relevant. It’s there to make sure you, as a business, have access to good quality, willingly given and relevant information about your customers. By going against the grain and getting excited about GDPR, your customers will appreciate your drive to help protect their data.

Our aim is to create a level of clarity and transparency between a client and company, resulting in a better customer experience.

Some high-earning companies have made statements about how well-received the GDPR legislation is, and by and far the most positive reaction has come from huge UK-based companies who not only are backing the laws, but going as far as to say that if the processes outlined in the GDPR are coming as a shock, then your business needs to do some serious thinking about your processes – regardless of the deadline.

Giving your team the ‘why’ around data privacy processes.

Often the hardest nut to crack with implementing a new strategy, is within your own staff. By taking the same approach across your team as you are with your customers will ensure a smooth and confident transition within your business.

Dedicate time to informing them about the GDPR, but in a formal training environment, and where possible across multiple teams. Open forums are a necessity, so that everyone is clear and consistent in their knowledge about the GDPR and how it affects their own role within a company, as well as how their own information is safely stored and accessible within the organisation as an employee.

By reiterating the GDPR’s focus being purely to ensure that an individual’s personal information is processed and stored safely, you will find your own staff willing to help implement and maintain the changes, and keep them onside when discussing what happens if someone does flag a breach in your company’s data processing.

If the measures and controls around GDPR still seem daunting or you have no idea where to begin, let’s have an initial no-nonsense chat.

We cannot take it all off you and produce a ‘packaged GDPR-in-a-box solution’ but we can help you to understand and action some of the key aspects of it as we have done and are doing for others.

Get in touch today on 0808 164 4142 to get started with GDPR.

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