In recent years, data capture has followed a ‘quantity over quality’ approach resulting in acres of premature data taking up space and causing a headache if and when we actually needed to delve into it. However, GDPR forces a return to the idea of ‘quality over quantity’ and actually creates an opportunity: GDPR offers us the chance to start again; finding quality data and capturing this at the right time, for the right reasons.
Data can be a powerful tool, and when used collected and processed correctly, you can turn it into an experience benefit for your customers, enticing them to return, nurturing them from initial contact, through to purchase, all the way through to advocacy and loyalty. Here are just a few ways to achieve this:
Be clear about how you will use data before you capture it. Data isn’t useful until it has a purpose
Data without context is just data, data with context is information. A date is only a string of numbers until you know you’re looking at a date, add in formatting and it’s even clearer. Data needs to be viewed with other data to make sense of it. What you actually want from your customers is to be able to add their data into your analytical melting pot and for it to spit out information that will:
A) Encourage spend or interaction
B) Make your customers feel valued and loyal to your brand
Tell your customers that, so they understand how their data helps make your brand better.
Know the difference between data you want, and data you need
Under the GDPR the customer has a right to know why data is captured and what it will be used for. Customers won’t give up their data if they don’t see a credible reason beyond the obvious need for fulfilment of the service or product. As a mutually beneficial value exchange develops along with trust, you can start to ask for more data at the right time and in the right context. Don’t be greedy. Create a list of the data items that you need, separated from what you want alongside your customer journey / customer experience plans.
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Don’t use data as a ‘just in case’ asset
We hoard data. Gathering it as soon as we can, just in case we might need it. Manufacturers long ago realised that this ‘just in case’ mentality is simply inefficient, expensive and a bit lazy. With leaner planning and forecasting processes, manufacturers are less likely to be stuck with a roomful of expensive but defunct widgets. So why shouldn’t we treat data in the same way? The fear that customers won’t part with their data later on drives brands to capture so much data as soon as they can. This mentality has to change; ideally customers should volunteer data to personalise or customise their own experience.
Have a plan for dealing with the new ‘rights’ under GDPR
Along with subject access reporting, customers can and will request changes to their data, and will exercise the right to decline processing. You need to have a plan for how you will manage these so that you can act promptly and mitigate risk to your brand. Social media and the press will be all over GDPR-related incidents. More importantly, no-one wants to be trending as part of #NotGDPRCompliant.
Adopt a service thinking approach - learn to adapt and adapt to learn
For a mutually beneficial value exchange to work we need to encourage feedback. Service thinking requires feedback loops and agile thinking. Brands are not going to get this right immediately so be prepared to adapt and to listen to your customers. It’s their data after all.
Marie Bradley is Head of BA and QA at Tribal Worldwide’s Tech Engineering Practice.
- Want to know more about GDPR? Check out our GDPR guide here!