By Joe O’Reilly, IT & Security Manager at Engage Hub
A year on from the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance deadline, long gone is the stream of emails asking for consent, and to some organisations, GDPR has proved an all-round inconvenience and challenge. Any organisations that doubted the severity of compliance have been proved wrong. This year has seen European data protection agencies flexing their muscles, issuing fines totalling €56m for GDPR breaches, from more than 200,000 reported cases – and watchdogs warn that they are just getting started.
So, what has the regulation achieved so far? The Cambridge Analytica scandal highlighted the true scale of mismanagement of people’s data, and the regulation has made us more ‘data aware’ than ever before. GDPR was criticised for many reasons, including suggestions that GDPR will negatively impact relationships and communications between customers and clients and subsequently damage customer experience as it will make everything that much harder. The opposite is happening, as trust and consumer control is on the rise.
Placing the control with the consumer
Scandals in the media remain fresh in the minds of customers and people mistrusted even the mention of ‘data’. Consent lies at the core of GDPR. Clarity around consent, which made it easy for consumers to opt in and out of services, spam or marketing benefited the consumer instantly, putting them in control.
Once a customer had opted in, their data could be legitimately drawn from to personalise their experience, inform messaging and reduce friction in their customer journey.
Under the new legislation, organisations have been forced to state why data is useful to them and be specific about how it will enable them to deliver a more targeted and seamless customer experience. This has included simple reasons such as explaining that a birthday is stored so special offers can be made, or why holding multiple addresses for a customer will aid the delivery process if a parcel can’t be delivered to your home address when you’re stuck at the office.
Increased trust correlates with increased loyalty and has enabled organisations to understand how customers interact with a brand across devices and channels. The GDPR has shone a spotlight on an organisation’s disparate internal data, and made organisations unify the large quantities of information into a single view. With a better view of the customer journey, including where, when, how and why they’re communicating with a brand, organisations are better analysing this information and using the insights to drive more personalised customer experience strategies that are of benefit to the customer.