GDPR is not just about compliance, it’s all about customer centricity

When I first heard about the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), my initial reaction was that of anxiety and fear. How are we going to get things done? Isn’t this so restrictive? But then, as I got past the several apocalyptic endings in my head (I beat Butterfly effect hollow), and all the smoke and mirrors surrounding this, this started making sense, and the answer to why do we need this law became clear.

And like all great answers, this one’s quite simple as well: It helps us deliver great experiences for our customers. It makes us a customer-centric organization.

At Freshworks, we believe that a law that is designed to create transparency and build trust is to be welcomed. While the road to compliance may be hard, the rewards, in the long run, are always positive when your customer has a good experience with your business. 

When the GDPR comes into effect, it will give your customers a lot more control over their relationship with you. They’ll have the right to access, update, port and remove the data you hold about them. In the last decade, the amount of customer data, gathered and stored across different teams in an organization has grown exponentially. While it is a mammoth task to clean up and store this data, look a little bit closer and an opportunity emerges. You now have no choice but to break down the customer-data silos between different business groups. And once you know what data you have (and can have) on each and every one of your customers you’ll be able to do things you’ve never done before. You’ll be able to make your business truly customer-centric.

Now, how can GDPR improve customer experience?

Get a full view of each customer

One of the first steps you must take is to invest in good software that is compliant with GDPR. Just think of the potential of consolidating data across your CRM, support, and other applications. One of the integrations that has us all excited is that of Freshsales and Freshdesk. Our CRM+Helpdesk solution will give you a 360-degree view of each customer. Your support team will know all details of when what customer bought what product or service and support them with full context.

This kind of visibility empowers you to engage with customers in ways they prefer, to respond to their requests at times of need and even proactively nurture them while constantly delivering moments of ‘wow.’

Talk to the people who want to hear from you

You need to stop ‘Spraying and Praying’ NOW. The GDPR has specific rules about enabling your contacts to clearly decide what they want to receive from you. This means that you cannot send individuals content that they don’t want anymore. Also, the GDPR requires a lawful basis for processing i.e a reason to use a contact’s data, like consent or proven interest. In the short term, you may need to re-evaluate those bottomless email lists that you have bought, but long story short, this is the best thing that could have happened to you, to all of us in fact. The writing is on the wall – Don’t email individuals who don’t want to hear from you. Moreover, the ones who do should be able to decide what they want to hear from you. Classify your existing database and cull out email IDs that you cannot trace the source of or get consent from. Focus and reach out to the ones who need you. You’ll see a lot more positive responses this way.

Be more empathetic. Build trust with your customers.

The emails may have started. They may start as a small stream now, but you are worried that customer queries around their data will start to come in like the Ganges in spate. The GDPR requires transparency around data collection and processing. With “Right to access” and “Portability,” customers can request a copy of their data at any given point in time. For e.g., if a customer asks you what they have signed up for, how their data is being used or shared across the organization, you should be able to share that with them. But think about why they send in these requests in the first place – They are probably just worried if their data is used right and is not available to the wrong hands. That is a fair ask. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer. How would you want your data to be treated?  You wouldn’t want to give your data to someone who uses it without your knowledge, maybe even sell your data to other businesses without your consent. What this means is that the vendors you choose also need to have the same approach towards GDPR. Their tools should enable you to act on your customers’ requests immediately, without any roadblocks.

This is a great opportunity for you as a business to show them the steps that you are taking towards both compliance and customer centricity.

Be proactive. Be transparent. Show your customers the steps you are taking in the right directions. They will appreciate it.

GDPR compliance is not an option. But it sure is an opportunity.

An opportunity to collect your data through the right channels, store your data with the customer rights in mind and to deliver customer experiences that make them go ‘wow.’