In the wake of recent news about Facebook’s misuse of customer data, it’s time to revisit some general best practices for ensuring that your customers’ information is consensual, secure, and being used correctly.
Let’s look at these three key concepts and how you can avoid your customer data (and use thereof) landing you in trouble.
Firstly, consent is of the utmost importance, especially under legislation which affects how you collect, store and process new customer data, as well as manage that of existing customers.
We all know data is important for our marketing teams to deliver personalised one-to-one communications that prioritise the needs of the customer as a way of building brand loyalty. But it’s important that your consumers have provided explicit consent for their data to be obtained and processed by your company first.
Make sure you get potential customers’ consent to use their data in whichever way you intent before you begin marketing to them.
Last year saw some high profile cyber attacks on private and public sector organisations resulting in millions of people’s data falling into the wrong hands. These events serve to highlight the importance of protecting your customers’ data.
Encrypting sensitive data is a good place to start. Payment providers require retailers to encrypt card details by default, however, if you store these details on company servers (e.g. your website remembers users’ payment details) then unless this data is protected with strong, industry-standard security encrypted with up-to date technologies, then it’s at a much higher risk.
This links back to your customers giving consent for you to use their information. Misleading your customers on how their data is collected, stored, used and protected can create a legal nightmare for your business.
The collection of data has to be relevant for a specific purpose. So if information is collected for a campaign or competition, this information can only be used for that purpose. Further consent will be required to use the information for another objective.
This means it’s necessary for businesses to actively seek explicit permission from all customers who opt in for marketing materials. Organisations must ensure that potential customers are given clear information on how their data will be used, how it will be handled and what contact to expect.
Organisations should view these rules as an opportunity to improving marketing efforts by improving the quality of their data, which in turn could lead to more loyal customers and more prosperous business.
Worried about securing customer data on your systems? Get in touch to find out how we can help.