It’s easy to see the general data protection regulation (GDPR) as a box-ticking exercise, but by going a step further and explaining how personal data is being used, companies can forge stronger customer relationships.
On the 27th of September I attended the Technology for Marketing event in London. It was packed full of great speakers with insightful perspectives. While there were a number of interesting presentations, one in particular stood out amongst the crowd because of its contemporary pertinence regarding GDPR.
J Cromack, the Co-Founder of MyLife Digital, led an intriguing and relevant talk titled “Reinforcing Trust by Rethinking Personal Data”. The talk addressed the new data protection laws and how we can utilise these to our advantage.
For example, in the majority of cases, companies tend to see GDPR as a compliance exercise. Nobody is truly getting their hands into the important bits – how these rules work best for business and customers.
This attitude to GDPR is everywhere. Mostly, it’s on websites’ pop-up banners. They cloak half of the browser screen, demand you accept their new policy, and the copy is often exactly the same as the hundreds of other websites doing it. As a consumer, you quickly click accept to clear your screen. However, if you dig deeper, you’ll find the small print on another page.
It’s ironic – the whole purpose of GDPR is to empower customers to make informed decisions on data sharing, but businesses aren’t willing to update the way they communicate this information to their clients.
The solution? Transparency and full disclosure. Plain language. Clear and clarified information. Give your customers control of their data by making it clear where they can find information on what you intend to do with it. In addition, they should be able to securely access, review and edit their own permissions at any time. We need to constantly ensure fairness and integrity. This is more than just a box to tick.
Marketo research has found that 72% of consumers are concerned about their data privacy and, given the controversies surrounding GDPR, are unwilling to share their data. Businesses need to effectively communicate that, actually, GDPR brings transparency, honesty and loyalty. It’s a great opportunity for companies to rebuild the lost faith of their audiences.
The Dating Game
Companies and marketers need to slow it down a notch. Just like on a first date – if you rush into things by asking too much (for example, your date’s opinion on marriage), you’ll scare them off. Just getting a phone number is a result. Just like you would with a romantic interest, show respect.
“Get it right and there’ll be a second data – maybe more.”
This means asking for only what is needed. People are willing to give information to people they trust. Overall, in your approach to gathering customer data, you have to prioritise nurturing your relationship with the customer, above all else. Give them flowers and chocolates. Or, more appropriately, discounts for divulging more personal data.
By explaining why you want certain information and offering a discount as thanks for participation, companies are guaranteed to find that their customers are more than willing to trust them again.
You’ll be rewarded for your kind approach and transparency – Marketo found that 60% of us are more likely to share information if we thought it helped to tailor our service as a result.