On 25 May 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect and its introduction affects every EU business that handles customer information. While this new regulation has notoriously been deemed a challenge for companies, it can truly benefit your business, offering you the potential to gain a competitive advantage through enhancing the customer experience.
In this article, we share insights into how the GDPR impacts data security and storage, highlighting how it allows your business to prioritise customers and increase consumer loyalty.
The internet has profoundly changed the way that we communicate both personally and professionally; we pay bills, we send emails, we buy goods and services and share documents all by sharing our personal details online.
Historically, consumers have been told that sharing information will ensure a more enhanced customer experience, but in light of recent revelations about how organisations may be misusing and selling data for commercial and even political gain, consumers are feeling increasingly uneasy about their data privacy and may be more reluctant to share their preferences as a result.
Data security and storage
The GDPR aims to give control back to consumers over their personal data. New regulations include the “right to access” which is the right for the customer to obtain information from a business as to whether or not personal data concerning them is being processed, where it is being held and what it is being used for.
Additionally, in some cases, customers will now have the “right to be forgotten”, which entitles them to erase their personal data if requested.
From the introduction of GDPR, your business must adhere to new rules and procedures surrounding the collection and storage of your consumers’ personal data.
You should ensure that those who collate and process data are aware of the regulation, and make sure your business has a record of where personal data is stored, why it is used and how it can be destroyed.
When collecting data from customers, your business must inform them as to why the data is being collected, how it will be used and how long the information will be stored for. You must also tell individuals what their rights are.
One aspect of a new consumer-centric approach to data storage is, even if data comes from multiple sources, your business will be able to locate data within an organisation. This simplifies the data collection process, and gives you more scope for identifying and locating data when needed.
Efficient and tighter data storage offers new opportunities for your business to truly understand its consumers, and use their data to inform future policies, establish patterns and plan for future business activity.
This all creates a more secure system for storage of consumer data and information will be held in a safer environment, which the consumer will be aware of.
The General Data Protection Regulation came into force on 25 May 2018 and businesses that breach it might be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20m, whichever is the greater. Here's what you need to know about GDPR.
Better customer experience
While procedures must be carried out to comply with the regulation, the GDPR doesn’t have to be as big of a compliance challenge as businesses may believe.
In fact, the GDPR presents a timely opportunity for your business to re-engage with its consumers, explaining what data is needed, why it is needed, whom the company will be sharing the information with and what customer service benefits will result from its use.
The GDPR can vastly improve the customer experience and bring your business a competitive advantage, especially if your business exceeds the bare minimum requirements set by the privacy regulations.
Above all, a larger pool of data allows your firm to develop a customer-centric business model, truly putting the consumer first. As data is gathered more succinctly and in an organised fashion, the customer becomes priority and their data even more important to protect. As the customer becomes aware of this, their trust in your is likely to increase.
This increased trust created by adopted regulations can drive customer loyalty. Consumers will be happy to grant access to a brand that they know is respecting their privacy and meeting their customer experience needs through holding their data securely and giving them the opportunity to withhold private information if desired.
Ultimately, the GDPR can engender trust, build brand loyalty and make the customer experience more personalised. Rather than being viewed as a challenge posed to businesses, it should be understood as an opportunity to strengthen and develop consumer relationships.
An Enterprise CFO's Guide To The GDPR
As a CFO, due to the large quantities of data your finance department handles, it’s important that you have a good understanding of what the GDPR means for you and the wider business. Get your free GDPR guide.