Insight: GDPR post-launch: who will the regulators be looking at?
By Mark Adams, Regional VP, UK&I at Veeam
When it comes to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), many of you may be feeling a bit like Scrooge, the miserable character from Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol, during the festive period.
You can’t get away from hearing about the regulation, with mentions of it appearing in every publication you read. The four letters may even be seeping into your dreams. It’s making you anxious and miserly. Surely, there are greater issues for your organisation to worry about – right?
Unfortunately, I have bad news for you. The end of May simply marks the beginning of a GDPR-compliant world. If anything, you’ll only be hearing more about the regulation in the next few months, as the first instances of fines start making headline news. Even today people are talking about it, with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) having handed out £1.7 million in fines in January 2018, a figure which represents a staggering 312% increase on the average monthly figure for 2017. Demonstrating that the regulator is sharpening its claws before the launch of the GDPR and the increased attention data protection will gain from the media, governments and the public alike.
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All of this is especially important when you consider how the first few cases of GDPR non-compliance will influence the responses of others down the line. Organisations worldwide will be looking to see who falls foul first, and how they can avoid making similar mistakes and suffering similar penalties. So expect a continued influx of GDPR-related articles, as best practice advice emerges in the coming months.
Yet this needn’t be a bad thing. At Veeam, we believe that the new GDPR should be treated as the starting block for more comprehensive personal data management in the modern age. As such, action on compliance shouldn’t be left to the last minute. It must be treated with the same gravitas as any other major strategic business decision, like expansion or wider digital transformation initiatives.
To do this (and avoid being caught out by the regulators), businesses need to go about protecting their processes with a ‘privacy by design’ approach. This can be done in a number of ways. All of which will ensure that yours is not the business the ICO turns its gaze on.
Remain transparent and secure
Thanks to a number of well-publicised data breaches in the last few years, the public are now more aware and concerned about their data security than ever before. Under the GDPR, consent for collecting data will be an active activity – users will need to opt in.
Similarly, people will soon be able to exercise a variety of rights over their personal data. They’ll be able to place limits on the use, collection and disclosure of their personal information against organisations. Data controllers will need to be able to fulfil these obligations – not just for compliance reasons, but for customer service and brand reputation reasons as well.
It’s important to have processes and resources in place that can support this significant change – being clear and transparent on your intentions should be key. But it’s also important to balance privacy and security. A recent article from CSO discussed the risk of allowing GDPR rules to overrule security standards. It’s vital to constantly have one eye on the safety and availability of data, as well as its privacy. There’s a very real possibility that the first GDPR fine could come as a result of this tension.
Consider end-to-end security
One of the first pieces of advice a Data Protection Officer or GDPR expert will offer is to put the time and energy into building a comprehensive data map. This should let you quickly see where data is entering your organisation, how it is being collected, and the type of infrastructure and storage solution that underpins its existence.
By now, every business should have done that. So the next step is to retain a proactive, rather than a reactive, approach to data management, availability and security.
What that looks like in practice will vary by business. But regardless of size or structure, every organisation will need to adopt an ongoing plan for data monitoring and protection, that includes strategies for availability and backup, should a breach occur. These plans must be flexible enough to take into account the continuously shifting data landscape. And will require involvement from all areas of the business – not just the IT department.
The new age of GDPR
The cost of non-compliance is steep. To remind you once again, serious violations could result in fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual turnover – whichever is higher. But the question remains, who and what will the regulators be looking at? Will their attitude be lenient, or will they look to make examples of the first to fall?
Only time will tell. But we can speculate on the type of organisations that may get stung first. It’s safe to rule out the public sector, for fines could easily bankrupt many essential services. Yet other sectors may not be so lucky. To stay protected, all organisations need to treat GDPR as an ongoing project – not just a one-time event.
Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey
There’s no shortage of customer service channels for the enterprise to select from today. Regardless of the many new metrics that have emerged – such as customer success, or empathy – cost reduction is still a primary driver in selection criteria.
There are many articles dedicated to how companies can turn customer service and customer experience (CX) from a cost to a revenue centre. The problem is, if you stop there and don’t look beyond cost reduction, you’re limiting the scope for CX to become an even bigger economic contributor in the enterprise.
There is every opportunity for customer service and CX to significantly influence the front end of business, particularly amongst direct-to-consumer subscription-based products and services, such as popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, as well as sports subscription services like DAZN.
In these products and services and others, there are new customer journeys that may drive business growth and revenue. They start earlier and may last a lifetime, so getting things right at the start of the journey is key so that customers have the best experience from day one.
Not only will this help in making customers less likely to reach out for issues-based support further down the line, but these customers will be much less likely to churn, and much more likely to take up new services as they are offered throughout the lifetime journey.
So, what does the new customer journey look like for these services?
Opportunity waiting for the likes of Netflix & Disney
While consumers may have previously regarded customer service as a way to mitigate the inconveniences in their lives, the customer journey is expanding in scope every day. Today there are many more touchpoints available that put CX in a position to drive revenue.
For one-off purchases, traditional CX deployments have not changed significantly in the past few years. However, if you look at the change in the CX relationships we’re seeing with subscription-based products and services, particularly media-based streaming services, it’s clear that these companies lead what quickly become very multifaceted relationships with their customers. These have serious potential to evolve over time for increased economic benefit.
For any sort of subscription-based business, customer lifetime value is paramount, and the requirement to actively manage a continued positive customer experience is critical.
Every interaction is an opportunity, and every data point is a chance to offer more value. Introductory offers can convert to longtime customers. Longtime customers may take up opportunities to upgrade to more premium products or services. They may also appreciate incentives to invite family and friends to become customers. Consumers who like a particular service, for example, may appreciate a recommendation for another similar or complimentary service.
It all starts with customer interaction, and the customer experience journey becomes an opportunity to strategically affect the user base and resulting revenue - which is a far cry from the limitations of call center cost reduction or churn metrics.
How do companies support the new customer journey?
More and more, customers look at the new customer journey as engaging with brands as part of their lifestyles. Many companies are making brand ambassadors available before the traditional customer journey even starts, which is a marked change from a purely transactional relationship associated with a one-off purchase.
These ambassadors, who are often independent users of products or services, are providing trusted pre-sales advice, and that same trusted advice can also function to nurture the customer journey in a subscription-based relationship. Call it ‘GigCX’ or ‘crowdsourced customer service’ or even ‘peer-to-peer customer service’ - it doesn’t matter.
The key is in providing impartial, trusted advice from real users. Think about it: who would you rather get advice from? Someone who has used a product or service extensively, or someone who has been trained to provide customer service surrounding that product or service?
For services such as streaming media, advice from trusted experts with real product know-how could be invaluable. This may not be limited to technical issues, such as what to do when you can’t access your favourite show, or how to access services across various devices. It could be parents helping other parents who are concerned about how to restrict adult content from child viewers, or simply customers who have similar taste in programming who can comment on the benefits of upgraded or premium products. The point is, these experts are easily available at any touchpoint in the customer lifetime journey, creating more chances to add value.
It’s also about tipping customers from ‘passive’ to ‘promoter’ in the NPS scale. It’s an opportunity to turn neutral customers who may be vulnerable to competitive offerings into loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fuelling growth. It may ultimately help drive even further revenue by creating customers that are helping to sell the brand itself.
And, while chatbots and automation may play a key role, they are often not able to handle the more complex support needed in the new customer journey. Conversational AI is rarely as conversational as it claims to be, and in the new customer journey, most companies are finding that a mix of automation and people-centric service is an ideal way to nurture the many new touchpoints created.
It’s no longer about trying to replace human capital with automation: it’s about orchestrating a uniquely personalised CX, and proactively engaging during the customer lifecycle to enhance the experience, and to create more long-term value.
At the moment, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power to affect the economics introduced by the new customer journey. We’ll no doubt see this evolve rapidly particularly amongst streaming companies as they use human-centric connections in CX to support the full potential of customer lifetime value.
About Roger Beadle
Roger Beadle is an entrepreneur and business leader who is reinventing how customer service is delivered via the gig economy. After establishing several businesses in the contact centre industry, Roger co-founded Limitless with Megan Neale in 2016. Limitless is a gig-economy platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the contact center industry: low pay, high attrition and access to new talent. Previously, Roger and Megan helped to build one of the largest privately-owned outsourced contact center business in Europe, before selling the business to the global conglomerate Hinduja Group. Roger is an outspoken proponent of digital ethics, worker’s rights and the ‘good-gig:’ which encapsulates gig work for incremental pay versus full time work, skilled gig work, no unpaid time/downtime and zero expenses.
Named a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, Limitless is a gig customer service platform, combining crowdsourcing and AI to help global businesses address their biggest customer service challenges – rising costs, increasing attrition, variability in demand and the need for diversity. Brands like Microsoft, Unilever, Daily Mail Group and Postmates are using Limitless’ SmartCrowdTM technology to connect with their most engaged customers, and reward them for providing on-demand customer service that can flex in line with demand. Limitless is one of the world’s first global tech platforms to introduce localised platform terms to protect the rights of its gigging workers. Backed by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures, Limitless is empowering people worldwide to earn money for providing brilliant customer service for the brands they love.