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GDPR and data privacy GDPR, data privacy and the customer

There's been a great deal of apprehension around the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force on 25 May. Now that it's here, many organizations are still struggling to see how the new rules will impact the way they collect and then use customer data. And while the GDPR regulations apply to the EU, in today's global marketplace, the impact is being felt far and wide.

The good news is that it's never too late to refocus on the customer. GDPR presents a great opportunity for organizations to reassess their end-to-end customer journeys and build a better understanding of customer needs and expectations. Customer data provides countless opportunities to achieve growth through personalization and enhanced customer experience, but in order to be granted access to that data, organizations need to establish trust and be transparent about what the data will be used for and who it will be shared with.

Organizations are beginning to address this: KPMG International's 2018 CEO Outlook survey found that 59% of CEOs believe that protecting their customers' data is one of their most important responsibilities.

To get this right, consumers must willingly share their data. A recent report by KPMG International of 10,000 global customers, Me, my life, my wallet, found that customers are willing to share their personal data if it helps them live their lives more easily; if the organization is going to use it in an intelligent and informed way.

Businesses must therefore ask themselves a few key questions. What data am I holding? What data do I actually need? What do I intend to do with that data? How will I maintain rigorous governance frameworks?

There are four key points to consider:

  • Identify data touch points. For each customer journey, businesses should be able to map relevant data touch points and then set clear privacy and usage expectations. These need to be strategically aligned to meet business and consumer objectives.
  • Clear and concise messaging. A customer must know exactly what data is being held, how it is being stored and what they will receive in exchange. There should be a two-way relationship with transparency at the core.
  • Where's my data? The internet has been awash with GDPR emails `ticking the regulatory box' and these have no doubt generated their fair share of calls and queries. Employees need to be able to field difficult data privacy questions in a timely way and resolve any problems that arise quickly. Being able to demonstrate that you are aware of what data is held where and then protecting that data will go a long way towards building trust, authenticity and integrity in your brand promise.
  • Where's the value? Customers are now firmly in the driving seat. They have an opportunity to take back ownership of their data if they feel value to them is lost. Building the right data privacy experience can help to foster customer trust, enable further personalization and ultimately generate lasting value for your customers and for your organization.

Data privacy should not be addressed as standalone. It is a core component of a broader customer data and analytics strategy which can lead to new growth opportunities. Advanced, predictive analytics can help identify opportunities to accelerate customer growth by creating tailored services to customers, expanding into new markets, creating new products, and doing a better job of serving existing customers. A data privacy mandate is a critical component of this and should be led from the top, measured through ongoing customer feedback and personalized to meet evolving customer expectations.

I believe those who see the opportunity in GDPR will be the future winners. Companies who show a continued focus on the underlying principles of GDPR and ongoing acknowledgement of the issues that led to the regulation coming into force can expect to build trust and ultimately deliver better outcomes for their customers through more tailored and personal experiences. Those who see this as another regulatory requirement could find themselves paying the price of customer loyalty in the long run.

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