Data is business fuel. It drives how we run our operations, what products we create and how we market, sell, and distribute them. The value of the data stems from how it is gathered, analyzed, used, and reused.
As data is core to the success of any business, you’d think that it would always be treated as the valuable source that it is. Sadly, this is not always true. For some, customer data breaches, misuse of data, sharing of data, and hacking, followed by the selling of data has transformed data from an asset to a liability, which has driven new regulations to protect data and the consumer.
One of the most recent and widely known of these regulations is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a European privacy regulation, but given the global nature of business, it also affects companies outside of Europe that have customers who reside there. Privacy concerns in the U.S. continues to grow and the state of California recently passed similar legislation to GDPR as momentum increases for national legislation. With the advent of GDPR in May of 2018, companies have been scrambling to understand how to legally collect and utilize consumer data within these new regulations. Non-compliance is not an option as the fines are substantial, as much as 4% of global annual sales for the most serious violators. Google just made the news when it was levied a $56.8 million fine for using the private data of users, without proper consent, by burying the privacy disclosures within the fine print. The consumer must be able to easily access the information on how information is gathered, used, and protected.
So, is GDPR a problem or an opportunity for businesses? It’s a bit of both, but the opportunity is more impactful than the problem. Businesses should look at this as the start of a close and lasting relationship with its customers and a path toward increasing the quality of customer engagement. Shift the mindset from being worried about GDPR to using it for advantage.
So where is this “silver lining” or opportunity accompanying privacy regulations? This new era will force companies to better store and manage data and to consider how to best use data to improve the customer experience. Three things are top of mind to find and open that silver lining.
- Treat data like you would your individual customer, with respect. If a customer believes their information is being mismanaged, the potential for retention and loyalty is a lost cause. By ensuring that regulations are being followed and by upping the game with additional protection to cover security and privacy areas not yet legislated, businesses have the opportunity to gain trust and build brand loyalty. Customers need to know that their data is safe and being used as expected.
- Increase the quality of your data. Capturing more data is not the end game; capturing the right data, knowing how to use it, and why you need it is the mission. Offer data transparency and consumers will be more willing to share – leading you to drive more business.
- Develop deeper relationships and contextualize your customer interactions. Use the improved data quality, potentially enhanced with intelligence tools, to create hyper-personalized interactions. Nurturing with the right offers at the right time not only boosts your sales, but improve Net Promoter Score (NPS) and loyalty while improving marketing efficiency.
These regulations are good for both consumers and ultimately, for businesses. Consumers need to feel confident that their private information is in good hands and feel that they still own it. Otherwise, they may not offer it up, and will choose to do business elsewhere. People are willing to share data if they are getting something in return – something of value. But we are just now beginning to understand the impact of sharing data.
As that impact is realized, businesses have the opportunity to use customer data to develop those relationships and ensure that customer interactions are personal and contextual to provide superior experiences that differentiate their brand.
For more information, read this article on how Europe’s new privacy rules may have a silver lining: Improving customer experiences.
To find out how you can leverage your data by creating superior customer experiences, visit: Connected Consumer Intelligence