Is GDPR a good thing?

Advancements in technology and an increase in the use of sophisticated digital marketing techniques, have caused more and more consumers to question how their data is being used, stored and shared.

The GDPR gives the individual greater control over the collection and use of their personal data. To meet the high data protection standards set by the new legislation your existing contacts may need to give fresh consent. With the effect that could have on the size your database, you’d be forgiven for asking ‘is GDPR a good thing?’.

The GDPR is all about respect, and respect is always a good thing. The new regulations encourage you to build a better relationship with your customers, clients or candidates based on transparency and trust. Yes, you may stand to lose some tired consumers in the short term, but the long-term reality is that the right approach to data protection will allow you to grow a far more valuable database of engaged customers that will ultimately benefit your business.

It’s important that we begin to recognise the true value of a customer’s data. When a consumer grants a business or organisation access to their personal information, it is an investment, and like all investments they expect some return. The contract of trust cannot be one sided and enhancing every stage of the customer experience should become a priority, using the valuable insight we’re entrusted with, to improve customer service, send relevant communications and tailor content to keep them engaged.

How to use customer data responsibly

Sign old habits new habits

Here are some rules of thumb when it comes to responsible practice. Adopting good data protection as a core value of your business will promote consumer confidence, build lasting relationships and create valuable advocates for your brand.

1) The customer comes first

We are all consumers. How would you want your data to be used? Data should be used to benefit the customer as well as your business.

2) Respect privacy and meet your customer’s expectations

Data belongs to the individual, not the business. Don’t bombard customers or share without consent. Make sure you honour your promises and give them the service and information that convinced them to opt in.

3) Be honest, fair and transparent

Let people know why and how you want to use their data. Make it interesting and relevant, so they want to be part of the conversation.

4) Be diligent with data

Make security a priority, build confidence and use customer data wisely.

5) Take responsibility, be accountable

Make a concerted effort to comply and change old habits for the better; monitor customer feedback and be quick to respond if there’s an issue.

*Source: DMA (GDPR for marketers)

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