While ensuring compliance with GDPR is of course hugely important, those that treat it merely as a tick box exercise will ultimately fail in this new consumer democracy. GDPR offers a unique opportunity to develop completely new ways of working that are based on the key principles of trust and transparency. In the long-term those businesses that embrace this culture-shift most successfully (and truthfully!) will emerge with a competitive advantage over those that don’t commit so genuinely.
Consumer behavior and attitudes continue to evolve at an astonishing rate and in often-unpredictable ways but who they are and what interests them will remain either unchanged or be clear to discern. The brands that they invest in, financially and emotionally don’t necessarily need to fall-away as a result of these new consumer trends. If organisations have the right level of trust, their customers will choose to share their new behaviours and preferences with you, knowing that they will protect their personal data and respect their privacy at all times.
Beyond big data: smart data
One of the greatest failures of ‘big data’ is that it encouraged harvesting as much data as possible without necessarily asking why this data was needed and how it was going to be used. GDPR will break this cycle, turning big data into smart data. Now organisations will need to ask themselves why they want it and what they are planning on using it for. If everyone had done this years ago, then it would have made aspects such as personalisation much easier.
Going forward, it will be easier for businesses to ensure they are looking at customer engagement across the entire life cycle and not just as a marketing exercise. Storing customer data for the benefit of the customer has to be the mantra, and organisations will need to have a clear vision and a wide understanding of what benefits and customer experience improvements will result from its use and communicate this to their customers.
Taking data into the boardroom
GDPR will also go a long way towards engraining a long-needed organisation-wide appreciation of just how much customer data is being collected and stored across businesses.
At Bench, we spend a large amount of time talking to businesses about data-centricity and using customer-data in every aspect of their strategic and operational planning to improve efficiencies, develop better products, offer better service and anticipate developing customer needs. However, we often hit a brick wall in terms of elevating that conversation beyond the users of data and analytics.
GDPR will bring data into the Boardroom and hopefully alongside the regulatory impetus to properly protect and use consumer data, leaders beyond the CMO and CIO functions will more actively support the critical process of data democratisation and normalisation, which are so key to achieving customer-centricity.
New value exchange
GDPR offers a real opportunity for organisations to review current practices and get their data management and governance in order. Advocates of data value management have long urged organisations to see data as a corporate asset and now is the perfect time to do that.
By establishing what ‘good’ looks like (something that will vary depending on the nature of a particular business) and constantly asking ‘where’s the value?’, organisations can start to better measure the effectiveness of their data strategy and in turn make more use of data to improve the customer experience.
As well as harnessing data to improve the customer journey, GDPR presents a real chance for businesses to re-engage with customers and educate them on the benefits of data sharing. People will be happy to grant access to their data if their needs are being met.
By taking this approach, businesses can also get ahead of the game in terms of allaying any fears individuals may have around how their data is gathered and used. Showing that they have strong, secure data governance strategies in place can go a long way in fostering consumer trust and helping to build strong brand relationships, something which is good for everyone.
Data really does have the scope to revolutionise customer experience, but in order to gain access to good data organisations need to establish trust and to get that trust they need to be transparent.
We strongly urge all businesses not to hide behind GDPR, but to come out and lead with transparency by handing control of data back to customers. Those that do this will be the trailblazers of the future.
To read the report in full, register to receive it here: ‘Ask the Experts’ GDPR report.
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