The GDPR, the opportunity of a lifetime!

What’s that, in the sky, is it a bird, is it a plane, no, it’s the GDPR, the opportunity of a lifetime!

No, I’m not talking about the Nigerian super lottery that I won earlier this week without even entering or the long lost great uncle who sadly passed last month leaving me his multimillion-pound fortune or even the free holiday that I can claim if I just send over my passport and credit card number to secure the booking, I am, of course, talking about the GDPR!

Better data means better business

It’s a well-known fact that businesses need data – the better the data, the better the business. Data is at the heart of everything we do and at the heart of the data, are your customers.

Understanding and explaining that value of better data is never an easy task, to many it is intangible, it doesn’t really exist, you can’t touch it, you can’t feel but you know it’s there, whirring away in the background, helping you to work smarter.

The interest in GDPR and its impact on business is growing by the day and will continue to do so. This is a fantastic opportunity, not only to make sure your business is compliant but to make sure that your data is up to date, accurate and working for you. Use it to your advantage, talk to your customers, update your data and then enjoy the benefits for many years to come!

Be transparent,

If your house is anything like mine then you’ll appreciate that not every piece of glass is going to be clear all of the time. Sometimes there are hand prints, jam, lipstick and even the occasional footprint scattered across what was once a clear view of the outside world.

Now imagine how your customers feel, sometimes they can see clearly through the piece of glass that is your business and sometimes they struggle to see past the finger marks and felt tip stick men but ultimately they just want to know what’s on the other side.

Being clear, open and honest with your customers about who you are, why you want their data and what you plan to do with it is one of the simplest yet most effective tools you have. The GDPR has transparency at its core, if you want to have a better relationship with your customers, now is the time to make it part of the core of your business and tell your customers what they want to know!

Update your privacy notices and marketing consents, create customer information leaflets, explain what rights are available to people and how they can action them and they’ll thank you for it.

Press the flesh

Rarely does a regulation come along that is so wide that it encompasses whole businesses, affecting teams and departments from the front line to the CEO but the GDPR is one of those regulations.

Every business runs on the ability of its people, your people know how they do their job better than anyone else, they know the processes, the workflows, the pitfalls and the challenges, take the chance to talk them, get to know what they know, use their expertise to make sure that the changes you are implementing are going to work in the real world.

Engage your business, engage your stakeholders and really make a change in your business. Take the opportunity to get out and meet and talk to people, ask for a timeslot at team meetings, draft internal communications, encourage people to have a conversation.  The GDPR affects everyone, inside and outside of the office. You won’t get a better chance to talk about something so big that resonates with so many.

I have said this many times but the 25th May 2018 was not the end, it was not a target date, it was the beginning. Seize the opportunity, make the most of the whirlwind of press and media content that surrounds us and start to forge better, more open relationships with your customers and your employees and you too will come to realise that the GDPR really is the opportunity of a lifetime!

Richard Merrygold – Principal Consultant and DPO