4 ways to use GDPR to improve your customer relationships

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force this year, and time is running out for businesses to meet the new standards. Preparing your business for the change may seem like a daunting task, but making sure you’re ready is important.

At Feefo, we believe GDPR will be key to growing and improving customer relationships. Here are four ways you can use GDPR to bring your customers closer to you.

1) Increase trust through transparency

Every day, companies expect customers to reveal more personal information to them. For years, unscrupulous companies have bought and sold customer data, so it’s no surprise that consumers are now much more cautious about who they share their personal info with. At the same time, the more data you have on a customer, the better your business can serve them.

GDPR will change everything, as customers will have complete control over their data. Automatic opt-ins will be a thing of the past, and consumers will be able to ask for their personal information to be removed from your database at any time. But rather than trying to cover up opt-ins with sneaky marketing tactics, be as transparent as possible about the changes you’re making within your business to comply with GDPR – and build trust in the process.

Communicate to your customers that you are serious about protecting their data, and detail the measures you are putting into place because of the new regulation. Chances are, your customers currently have no idea how their data is collected, stored or used, and will appreciate the honesty and transparency. Make it clear they own their data, and can access and review it whenever they desire.

This openness is a fantastic way to help you stand out from any competitors wanting to hide the changes GDPR will bring. It will build trust with your customers, which, over time, could cause them to share more data with you, especially if there’s a benefit to them doing so (greater personalisation, better services, etc.).

2) Gain a better understanding of your customers

While many businesses will find they need to overhaul their IT and data management systems in preparation for GDPR, this can present an excellent opportunity. Both the visibility and quality of your customer data should improve, giving a better view of each individual customer. This allows you to deliver highly targeted campaigns – the more personalised your marketing efforts are, the higher the engagement will be.

A cleaner and better structured database will also mean your company will be ready to receive any consumer data that’s transferred from a competitor. This ensures each relationship starts off on the right foot, as you immediately have a deeper knowledge of each customer.

3) Boost customer engagement

Woman using iPad

Due to the new opt-in requirements, every customer you market to following GDPR compliance will have chosen to receive communications from you. While this may mean the number of customers happy to be contacted by you declines, the customers who do opt-in will automatically be more engaged. This will help build better and stronger customer relationships, and allow for far more direct communication.

Furthermore, you’ll save precious time, money and resources, and improve ROI, as you’ll only be marketing to customers you know are already engaged. If you find fewer customers are opting in following a switch from automatic opt-in, take time to discover why this will help identify what customers are seeking from your brand. Why would a customer sign up to receive communications from you in the first place? What benefits does opting-in provide? Answering these questions will help you create a much more engaged customer base, allowing you to foster brand loyalty and increase sales.

4) Provide a better customer experience

Almost three-quarters (73%) of marketing executives routinely collect information about current customer behaviour, but only 37% use this data for marketing purposes, according to a recent survey from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EUI). Crucial insight is going to waste.

Improved data management systems, containing accurate customer information, could put an end to this issue. Having a single customer view is key to providing an excellent customer service, but this involves ensuring data isn’t siloed away and managed by different departments of the company.

By pushing businesses to improve the way they store and manage data, GDPR compliance will result in more businesses having a complete view of their audience, allowing them to deliver a service that meets their requirements.

GDPR: a positive change for your business

Just 8% of European businesses are prepared for GDPR, and 26% believe they will not be compliant by 25th May 2018. The statistics are worrying, as many businesses will have significant changes to make to their organisation. Failing to meet GDPR standards could result in huge fines, too.

However, for businesses that are ready for GDPR, it’s an excellent opportunity to stand out from the crowd and gain a competitive advantage.

For more information about how GDPR will differ compared the existing Data Protection Act, read our ‘GDPR vs DPA’ blog post.

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