Rohit Agarwal in Data Privacy and Security, Sales and Marketing, CRM Jan 27, 2020 · 2 min read · ~100

Is Data Privacy and GDPR Legislation A Concern for Social CRM?

Is Data Privacy and GDPR Legislation A Concern for Social CRM?

Privacy is a fundamental right of every person. While an individual is mostly capable of ensuring their privacy in real life, maintaining so in the present age of digital globalization is a far more complex process. Digital privacy is inherently a grey area. But the recently implemented GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, aims to put more power in the hands of the digitally acquainted public regarding the extent to which they can protect their data privacy and exercise control over the use of such data.

The GDPR was a landmark decision by the European Union (EU), taken in 2016 but put into force as recently as May 25, 2018. It is meant to protect all citizens of the EU and the EAA from infringement of data privacy by companies in the name of customer relationship management. In a day and age when CRM has gone mostly digital, it is impossible to assess the full implications of allowing the company access to your personal and private data. You never entirely comprehend the reach of the personal information or the digital footprints left by you in the hands of data experts hired by these companies. This is exactly the kind of issue GDPR means to address.

The principles of GDPR can be condensed into rules for the companies and the rights of the people. The most important subject in the GDPR is that of consent. A company can only collect data if the customer or prospect has consented to it via an opt-in option. They can only collect those pieces of data that the person has chosen to share by their own free, informed will and use it only in the manner mentioned to that person.

At any point in time, the person can choose to revoke their consent and the company will have to respect that. If a customer stops consuming their product, they have a right to be forgotten and have their records deleted from the company database. A customer may also demand to have their data updated, for their data to no longer be used by opt-out, and also for data portability, in case they want to shift to another brand. Consumers must be notified of the occurrence and nature of a breach if any.

In turn, companies must inform customers as well as authorities in case of a breach. But before that, a company must give the prospect or customer full freedom to make their own choice regarding every single bit of information they are letting the company access. The company must store only those data that are relevant to their business and discard all other information.

The data may be processed only by customer consent or contract, in the legitimate interest of concerned customer or company, in public interest or due to legal obligation. The company must be transparent with its customers on how the data is being used. If a company has nothing to hide, GDPR should not be a concern for them when it comes to CRM. 

The price of non-compliance is high. Depending on the gravity of the issue, fines can go up to 4% of global annual turnover or €20 million, whichever is higher. Still, over one-and-a-half years after enforcement, GDPR is yet to be embraced in its entirety. A gloomy picture is drawn by the fact that the majority of companies are yet to implement GDPR-compliant CRM systems. What is worse is that in spite of complaints running in thousands, only a handful of cases have been brought to fruition. Unless the companies themselves gain awareness regarding the impact of their frivolous attitude towards data privacy and start implementing GDPR-incorporated CRM application development, the situation will not improve.

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