When GDPR comes into force on 25 May 2018, businesses will need to be ready. The many things you need to know about GDPR can be overwhelming, even causing panic for some businesses – something that’s making it difficult to see the positives.
However, despite the seemingly negative impact on many businesses, GDPR actually presents many positive opportunities for businesses and there is an upside to GDPR.
Read more about the upside to GDPR and the positive impact it could have on your business.
The law around personal data will now be clearer
Data protection has long been a challenge for businesses. Not only have businesses been forced to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, but legislatures in Europe and internationally have also come up with their own rules and regulations as to how data should be safeguarded. Now, in Europe at least, the laws will be aligned – making it easier for businesses to comply.
It will help you build trust with your customers
A key decider for whether a consumer engages with your business is trust. GDPR will help to reinforce trust in your business, letting customers and clients know that you value their personal data and are doing everything in your power to protect it. Data breaches are a growing concern for consumers, who are the ones who have been left bruised by some of the world’s biggest data breaches from companies such as Yahoo, Equifax and Sony PlayStation. GDPR will allow your business to reopen conversations about data with customers and give them assurance that their data is being protected when they interact with your business.
It will help you to streamline processes
If your current organisation systems are in disarray, then GDPR provides the perfect opportunity to get everything back on track. If your office is currently dealing with mountains of paperwork in addition to online storage systems, now is the time to consider transferring everything to a single, reliable and secure system that will make it easier for you to store and manage information. Using professional records management services will be able to help you transfer your records to a safe location, providing you with an effective archive system that will also help to keep your office organised. Moving forward, you will be able to implement new systems that make records and information management easier to follow, which will provide many benefits for your business.
Being ‘cyber safe’ improves your reputation
There is a growing wariness around businesses. There are many reasons why people have lost trust in businesses, the media and the government, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get it back. If you can boast about your GDPR-compliant credentials, then your business is going to be a step ahead of the others – many of whom might still not be ready come May. If you want to get ahead of your competitors, this could be one badge you can wear to help demonstrate that yours is a reputable company. Remember that GDPR will be an ongoing set of regulations, and you’ll need to maintain your compliance to keep your reputation high.
GDPR will ensure more accurate information
The data you currently have from your customers is vast, and often, incorrect. When GDPR is implemented, your business will need to ensure that the data held is accurate, as well as allow customers to inspect the data held about them easily – allowing changes to be made. As a result, the data you hold will be much more relevant and up-to-date, allowing you to make better use of the information that’s been made available to you.
Better training to make employees more aware of data protection
How much do your employees know about data protection? Unless it’s within their job description or a mandatory training need, employees may not have much knowledge of data protection – something that could be dangerous for your business. GDPR provides the perfect opportunity for some refreshed training around data protection, making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to handling information. Successful GDPR training sessions can help empower employees and dispel some of the myths they may have heard about how GDPR will affect how they work.
It’s a good opportunity for data cleansing
How much data do you currently have about your customers and clients? What percentage of that data do you actually use? We live in an age of data overload, which can be a bad thing for businesses. Instead of having to worry about handling large volumes of data, streamlining the data you collect and limiting how long it’s stored could actually help to improve your practices. By contacting people whose information you hold, you can set out to collect relevant information only that will give you the insight you need into your customer base and their habits. Now is a good time to think about the kind of data you want to collect and what information could be most useful to your business.
It could improve your marketing practices
How much value do you really get out of your current marketing practices? Isn’t it time you changed that? There will be many benefits of GDPR for marketers that will enable them to design better tailored, effective campaigns that offer a more personal interaction with consumers – stepping away unsolicited emails and instead focusing on engagement. GDPR will also mean that marketers will have to start thinking outside of the box to make an impact on consumers.
You could see a reduction in the number of complaints that come your way
If you’re used to dealing with gripes and complaints from customers, then you might be surprised to learn that these could actually become reduced after GDPR is implemented. This is because consumers will have to explicitly opt-in to receive communications with your business, something they will do if they are interested in working with you. Those who are less enthusiastic about your business will be given the option to walk away, and by retaining a higher number of people who are loyal to your business or brand, you could find those inane complaints a thing of the past.
You’ll have a clearer conscience when dealing with customers
If your business currently uses somewhat unethical tactics in order to try and poach sales, GDPR is going to make that a thing of the past. You’ll need to start observing regulations to avoid the hefty fines that will be put in place. While this may mean a shakeup to your practices, the business you do going forward will now be done by the book.
If you already value data protection, you’re going to be fine
GDPR has rung alarm bells across most industries, with businesses panicking about whether or not the way they handle information is going to land them with a €20m fine. However, for many businesses, GDPR won’t change much if you’re already stringent on data protection. Now is a good time to review your current practices or bring in an independent reviewer to take a look at to work out whether you can keep doing what you’re doing, or if changes need to be made.
If you’re concerned about GDPR or need more information, then the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) has everything you need to get your business ready. Take a look at their website for more in-depth info about what GDPR means and how you become GDPR compliant, to help your business stay ahead when it comes to data protection.