Complying with GDPR means businesses must be smarter about how they capture and use data
Today’s customers expect a seamless experience when they interact with businesses.
For example, they want recommended purchases based on shopping history and interactions with contact centre agents that factor other previous interactions from other channels.
At the same time, customers are increasingly uncomfortable with businesses holding their data. A recent survey suggested that only 6 per cent of consumers trust businesses to use their data responsibly.
With the recent enforcement of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), customers now have more power than ever when it comes to how their data is stored and utilized. Failure to comply with these new rules could result in hefty fines for an organisation,€20 million or 4 percent of annual global turnover, whichever of these is highest.
The problem is that the personalised experiences that customers often want to enjoy are often made possible by the same data they want to see deleted from an organization’s databases.
Delivering a great customer experience in the age of GDPR requires an intricate balance of deleting the data as requested by customers and making the most of what data may be left to use. Despite these obstacles, customers will continue to demand a seamless experience.
The ability to use available information and insights to understand their goals and needs, as well as craft the optimum experience has already become a competitive differentiator.
Businesses are increasingly faced with this conundrum. The threat of either losing clients to competitors or paying hefty fines for non-compliance means there is no room for error.
However, delivering the seamless experience customers demand is not as difficult as it may seem in many situations, it is just a matter of understanding the new landscape and learning how to navigate it differently than before.
A fresh look at processes
GDPR compliance emphasises ‘citizen control’ by bringing power back to the citizens and allowing them to have access to and control of how and where their data is used.
However, with customer service teams relying heavily on that data to draw insights that can enhance the customer journey and generate more revenue through client retention and acquisition, it will be necessary for some to significantly change the way data is managed.
For many businesses, this will mean taking a fresh look at how they collect and manage customer data.
Some businesses may have to start all over again and completely restructure their processes. For others, it will be a case of making some adjustments to transition to a more flexible, agile and compliant architecture that will allow them to better manage and analyse real-time customer behaviour and data. They may also need to look at how to segment their audience if their ability to collect data is limited.
While these new processes may present new challenges, they will also bring new opportunities for businesses to improve the experience they deliver to customers.
Complying with GDPR is also a good opportunity to boost customer trust. For example, creating transparency around how sensitive data is being used will give customers more confidence when it comes to sharing their data, knowing that the right processes are being followed and that the right safeguards are in place.
With explicit consent also in place, businesses will be able to confidently explore their options on how to enhance the customer experience using the information available, with the confidence that customers have given them the go ahead to do so. Putting the customer in a positive frame of mind creates a stronger relationship that enables smoother interactions with that customer.
One of the issues that resulted from the big data revolution was the drive to capture as much data as possible with little consideration for why the data was needed and how it was to be used. Businesses captured endless streams of data, with large portions of that data not being used to develop actionable insights or considered for improving relationships and processes.
Complying with GDPR means businesses must be smarter about how they capture and use data. As they won’t be able to just capture everything, they will need to ask themselves why they want data and for what application will it be used.
Businesses will need to define what a seamless experience looks like for their customers (something that will vary depending on the nature of a particular business) and constantly ask ‘how do we get here without straining customer relationships or breaking the law?”. They will need to focus on measuring the effectiveness of their data strategy and make the necessary adjustments which update their operations.
For this new approach to be effective, it will have to permeate every unit of the business not just the customer service team.
From the front desk to the back office, every employee must be encouraged to transition from a mindset of big data to one of smart data focussing on quality over quantity. With a focus on quality and trust in place, businesses will be fully equipped to deliver the winning experiences that guarantee loyalty and profitability.