How Can You Leverage GDPR to Improve Customer Experience?

How Can You Leverage GDPR to Improve Customer Experience?

As modern day consumers of digital media, you’ve probably already encountered numerous privacy policy updates through various alerts and newsletters. All of these updates are related to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was passed in the European Union this May. But the GDPR now essentially serves as the world’s largest protection for digital privacy rights because of the borderless nature of the Internet. Hopefully, by this point, your organization has already taken measures to assure compliance, but aside from the nuts and bolts operations perspective, what does this mean for CX professionals?

Some CX professionals may have some concerns about how the new regulations will impact their ability to deliver a memorable, personalized customer experience. This article from CX software company Maru/Syngro makes some simple, but cogent points about how CX is likely to be affected by GDPR, so I wanted to share a few of those takeaways with you, and expound a bit on how they relate to the customer-centric values I promote.

The GDPR Can Help You Transform ‘Big Data’ to ‘Smart Data’

The first point I want to explore has to do with what data we’re collecting from our customers, why we’re collecting it, and how it adds value to your company. From the article:

By identifying what looks ‘correct’ and asking where the value is in different data sets, businesses can start to effectively measure their data strategy, which in turn means they will make more use of data to improve the customer experience. Furthermore, ‘big data’ can turn into smart data when organizations begin to ask themselves why they want it and what they are planning on using it for.

Not too long ago I wrote a post about de-cluttering and re-thinking your customer listening data, and complying with GDPR actually provides a similar, but even broader opportunity to reorganize your customer data. Many companies have been collecting and storing huge amounts of customer data for years, because, well… they could! The more information we have about customers, the better, right? But, in many cases, the data was so vast that using it effectively to analyze and enhance the customer journey became a daunting task. Rather than blanket authorizations enabling companies to request and store comprehensive customer data, GDPR requires companies to be clear with customers about what data they are asking for. This change is the perfect opportunity for companies to hone the scope of information they’re requesting from customers down to the points that actually help to illuminate the customer journey.

An Opportunity to Earn Customer Trust

The other aspect of GDPR that Maru/Syngro pointed out which really appeals to me is that it encourages organizations to be trustworthy – to have to earn their customers’ trust. Here’s a quote from the article:

This is an opportunity for companies to lead the way for a new level of transparency and trust. As customer experience is the new battleground, it’s clear data is key to winning the war. . . . If organizations have the right level of trust, their customers will choose to share their new behaviors and preferences, knowing that they will protect and respect their personal data.

There is so much in just this short statement about how we should be doing business in the first place. And, if we’re not doing these things already, GDPR is the perfect opportunity to transform the way we do business, and the entire customer experience. I talk often about how companies must earn the right to customer-driven growth, and establishing a relationship of trust with customers is a major part of that process.

This statement gets to the heart of the first of my five customer experience competencies – managing customers as assets. When we value our customers as our greatest assets, we show them that we care about improving their lives, and we earn their trust. How we handle the information our customers share with us is a factor in maintaining the trust we have established. While GDPR may create some initial hurdles, as all new processes do, in the end, it will help us to earn our customers’ trust, their continued business, and the growth that results from that customer loyalty.

How has your organization handled the GDPR rollout? Have you been looking at this process as an opportunity to transform your customer experience? Let me know in the comments!


How do we cut through the rigmarole of business to give customers the treatment they desire, and employees the ability to deliver it?  Customer experience expert, Jeanne Bliss recommends making business personal to get the traction you need by focusing on one deceptively simple question: “Would you do that to your mother?”

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