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Make GDPR Yours: Trust And Integrity

Businesses must keep up with shifting customer preferences to survive in capricious digital environments.

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Businesses must keep up with shifting customer preferences to survive in capricious digital environments.

In a previous article, I discussed how businesses can drive value from GDPR, one of the key themes discussed in the SAP Customer Experience’s Consumer Insights & GDPR Readiness road show.

One of the insights was how the use of data can help deliver hyper-personalised customer experiences and in turn, drive customer loyalty.

It doesn’t stop there though; once they’ve achieved this loyalty, businesses can maximise the value of data, and coupled with building up their brand integrity, can use it to enhance consumer trust, which is expected to play an increasingly important role, especially as the balance of power between customers and brands shifts.

Because of this, it’s likely we’ll continue to see transparency and honesty being the key to unlocking long-term rewards and the maximisation of the value of data in a post-GDPR age.

The Customer Balancing Act

The shift of balance of power between consumers and businesses isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s been happening for some time. Every day, consumers become overwhelmed with choice on the market, which means they are able to become more selective in what they choose to buy, where they buy, and how they buy.

What’s more, as new players and new technologies enter the field, consumer expectations are constantly changing – which means businesses need to keep up, or even lead the way, if they want to thrive, (and even survive) in the digital economy.

An example of this is when Canadian retailer, The Aldo Group, recognised the need for a shift towards omni-channel shopping. It turned to specialised customer relationship management (CRM) technologies, and was able to establish more streamlined and scalable e-commerce operations, delivering greater flexibility and improved performance at peak traffic times.

Another thing to consider is that consumers are in the know. Whether it’s because of the constant news reports of high-profile data breaches, or even as a result of the flurry of GDPR-related communications landing in their email inboxes in the run-up to 25th May 2018, they are simply getting savvier about how their personal data is handled.

They want to know how it will be used before giving it away – and they’re aware that they now have the right to know.

So, it’s no surprise that many businesses are concerned about their ability to market and grow, as even more power is handed to consumers.

A Window to Trust

In this kind of landscape, building trust up front is the only way to succeed. It’s also paramount if businesses want to enrich data and strengthen their customers’ profiles over time – as customers’ willingness to share additional personal information later on in the customer lifecycle will also be based on their level of trust.

There are many different ways a business can build trust, and in this aspect, GDPR actually presents a massive opportunity.

Ultimately, organisations across the board are forced to be much more centralised in the way they go about collecting data, which in turn, leads to a more unified view of the customer, and allows them to deliver more fluid, relevant and positive experiences.

It goes without saying, businesses shouldn’t try to outsmart customers – if they’re using a chatbot for example, they shouldn’t pretend it’s a live chat with a representative because customers are hard to fool nowadays.

It goes without saying, if the consumer believes they are being lied to, they’ll be quick to switch off and switch tabs, which of course can cost the business.

And businesses must not beat around the bush either. When a customer expresses a certain need or want, the business must honour this request only. No more drivel!

This becomes even more significant when entering their personal space through a mobile device (which is the case for over 51% of web traffic, according to the SAP Customer Experience Consumer Insights Report).

The main reasons for consumers breaking up with a brand, revealed in this survey, is being spammed unnecessarily (57% global average), receiving too many direct marketing and sales emails (50%) and irrelevant content pushes (46%).

As a result, GDPR comes as an advantage to businesses, as customers must now opt in to marketing communications, making irrelevant experiences less likely, and meaningful ones more common.

As a rule of thumb, if businesses can be honest, open and transparent with customers – which is exactly what GDPR supports – customers are far more likely to engage with its brand and stick around. Much like how they would with an old friend or family. Which sounds very much like what a business should be striving for.

Roland Van Breukelen is UKI marketing director for SAP Customer Experience.

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Make GDPR Yours: Trust And Integrity

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