Three points customer service professionals should consider ahead of GDPR

23rd Apr 2018

On 25 May, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect. It aims to strengthen and unify data protection for individuals within the EU and address the export of personal data outside the EU.

Jo Causon, Chief Executive of The Institute of Customer Service, recently wrote about why this is a good opportunity to consider the wider use of data in customer service.

Here are three takeaways for you to consider:

Don’t forget the people element of data

“Dealing with all the data that customers share is an area of significant challenge for many UK organisations,” explains Causon. “Often this is because businesses have built up multiple channels over time – meaning they have been ‘bolted on’ one by one and are not integrated in a coherent or useful manner. So, rather than data being a valuable commodity – it actually becomes almost meaningless.

“Customer patterns are a behavioural science as much as a dataset. You need empathetic people who can interpret the information and then be able to engage with the customer in the right way, at the right time. Otherwise, you just have data.”

Start with the customer journey

To draw meaningful data, the journey customers take on all your channels must make sense, which is why you must design from the customer’s point of view. “This means involving the customer, through focus groups, research that is qualitative and quantitative, so that you can really listen to their voice and understand their motivations,” explains Causon. “It also means asking the right questions from the customer perspective not necessarily the organisations.”

Always ask yourself: why?

Consider what data are you collecting and why. Is it relevant? How will it help you improve the customer experience?

“These issues are made particularly relevant right now by the implementation of the GDPR,” says Causon.

“For many businesses, becoming compliant is creating a lot of work. But there’s no doubt that the principles behind the GDPR – to enhance data protection and give customers more control – are absolutely sound.

“Businesses should be compliant with the GDPR. When we’ve been looking at it from an Institute point of view, it has helped us focus on some basic moral imperatives: are we doing everything we can to protect data and are we using it to enhance the customer relationship? Do we know why we collect the information we do and what are we looking to achieve?”

You can read the full blog here.

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