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Turning data privacy into a CX bonanza

Data privacy law is undoubtedly a challenge for the modern organisation, but – with the correct staff training and application – it can allow the business to deliver the best possible customer experience.

Johannesburg, 22 Nov 2019
Read time 4min 20sec
Wayne Borcher, COO, tdglobal
Wayne Borcher, COO, tdglobal

In today’s customer-driven world, protecting the privacy of their data is both urgent and complex, in light of both the increasing legislation governing this topic and the ubiquity of the technology-driven and information-intensive environment of today.

It is no surprise then, to learn that data privacy is the phrase on everyone’s lips, from business executives through to the average citizen. From the customer perspective, they are increasingly being asked to hand over personal information to companies without being sure what it will be used for and how protected it will be. From the business point of view, customer data is vital to ensure the best possible customer experience (CX), but providing the protection demanded can be complicated.

Wayne Borcher, COO at tdglobal, suggests that with modern organisations intently focused on the CX as a means of differentiating themselves, the first and most crucial step is to ensure all employees are trained to know what is expected of them with regard to protecting customer data.

“Such training is applicable to all employees of the business – it should not be solely reserved for your management team. Think about it, in most enterprises, there will be a variety of employees who will have or require access to personal client data. Some will find they need to utilise this information on a daily basis as a part of their jobs, while others will be at the coalface, collecting the data for your company in the first place. Therefore, it is critical that employees understand exactly what is demanded of them in any situation where they are collecting and processing personal data,” he says.

“The importance of ensuring staff are made aware of data protection law is critical, as evidenced by the rule within the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which says that businesses are legally required to report certain types of breaches within 72 hours. Since the most common breaches occur when an employee makes an error like sending an e-mail to the wrong person, it is clear that staff must be trained to not only be able to identify when a breach has occurred, but also have the knowledge of what they need to do next.”

The importance of this is such that it cannot truly be measured, continues Borcher. He adds that not only should it mean staff feel empowered and comfortable with reporting anything that might compromise the data protection, privacy and security of your customers, but also that the customers themselves should feel more secure. In fact, it is so critical that some data protection experts emphasise that staff training should be the top priority, since having an informed workforce will significantly reduce your risk.

“The legal demands around data privacy should not be seen as a threat, but rather as an opportunity to develop completely new ways of working that are based on the key principles of trust and transparency,” he says.

“If your business wants to place an emphasis on CX, having the right level of trust is critical, because this will mean that customers are comfortable sharing new behaviours and preferences with you. This is because they will know that your company will protect their personal data and respect their privacy at all times.”

Access to such information, in turn, will afford organisations the chance to turn volumes of big data into targeted smart data. He indicates that although customers remain concerned about data privacy, at the same time they expect to be recognised and therefore want their experiences personalised. In other words, those enterprises that can combine identity data with behavioural information will outpace those that do not.

“You could describe this best as ‘storing customer data for the benefit of the customer’, which means that businesses will require a clear vision and broad understanding of what benefits and customer experience improvements can be gleaned from this information. They will also need to be willing to communicate this to their customers and should also ensure these clients are made aware of the continuous efforts being made to train staff in handling this sensitive information.

“In order for the modern business to be as resilient as possible, it needs to be willing to provide ongoing awareness training to all employees, not to mention any other partners or advisors that may need to handle private client data. Ultimately, everyone in the business has a vital role to play in protecting valuable and sensitive client information in a way that keeps it secure, while still allowing the organisation to deliver a safe, secure and comprehensive customer experience,” concludes Borcher.

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