Skip to the content

The value of customer data rises as GDPR approaches and Facebook flounders


tories of the mismanagement of customer data by Social Media giants and the looming threat of tighter legislation around personal data through the General Data Protection Legislation (GDPR) have only served to increase the value of this most important of business assets.

As is often the case when a light is shined on a subject, it is the threat of no longer having unlimited and uncontrolled access to customer data that has sent its perceived value through the roof. In pure economic terms, it is scarcity value, the threat that unbridled use of this resource will no longer be permitted, that has increased the importance and value of customer data.

Scarcity is an interesting word given that 87% of the UK population has an email address and 4 out of every 5 people have a smart phone. It is not the channel of communication that is the issue here, it is the permission to use it. Legislation already exists under the 1998 Data Protection Act and to be fair, GDPR does not go dramatically further, however, it does seem to have become a pivotal point in how determining how data can be used.

No longer will consumer data be sold to a 3rd party for a quick buck, consumer facing businesses must now cherish and nurture their customer data in order to retain the right to communicate. For most businesses this is a daunting task.

“How can I validate the source of the data? How many different internal systems hold data on the same customer? Has the customer given me explicit permission to communicate with them? Do we hold a legitimate interest? How can I consolidate all sources of data into a single location? How do I provide the customer with access to their own data, and provide my customers with an ability to keep their records up to date and select the topics and services they are interested in? How on earth do I know if I have duplicate records containing conflicting information on the same person? ”

Above all, how do I maximise the value of this essential business asset at a time when I can at last measure the value of the engagements that I have? while  at the same time new legislation makes it more onerous on my business to tightly manage the way in which I capture, store and use the data I hold on my customers?

Well, it’s a long question, and to do it justice, perhaps an even longer and complicated answer. The short answer is to give it the time and attention that such a precious asset deserves. This is not an IT issue, nor a legislative issue. This is an issue that deserves the attention of your most senior executives as it defines the way in which you do business, and the value to which you apportion the relationship with your customers.

At Green 4 we believe it makes commercial sense to put customers at the middle of your universe, to put customers first, to cherish the relationship. Statisticians will tell you that it is up to 25 x more expensive to sell your services to a new customer than an existing one, and once a customer is engaged we believe that you should go to great lengths to nurture them.

In short, lifetime value trumps the “injection of new revenue” associated with winning a brand-new customer. How many times are sales promotions aimed at new customers rather than loyal existing customers?… you could do worse than ask Sky!

As a Ticketing system, we believe that the online booking journey should be as frictionless as possible, and if we already know who you are we should be able to easily identify you and your friends and family within the system.

We should retain your purchase history and be able to suggest upsell items that we believe you will be interested in. We should take payments and deliver the ticket directly to your digital wallet.

As a CRM system, all the transactional and personal contact data should be immediately and automatically stored inside a secure CRM system. Automated email communications should confirm to you the details of your purchase and provide you with access to a Preference Portal where you can decide what future communications you wish to receive and make the decision to unsubscribe from our service or ultimately to be forgotten.

For best results, ongoing communication to you should be personal and relevant. Based on your purchase history and preferences. Links from Campaigns to Bookings using promotion codes should allow the system to automatically measure the value of every campaign.

A program of automated campaigns can be set up for Birthdays, Membership Renewals, upsell products and services in order to retain and build a long-term relationship.

Green 4 believes that the challenges of GDPR can be best met by delivering a single platform solution to remove the complexities of data integration and the risk of creating duplicate records. In particular, we recognise that this simplifies the management of “the right to be forgotten” storing the customers details in a single location making it easy to delete or anonymise records.

We also recognise that a single platform solution for the entire business operation is not always possible. There may be web registrations, retail purchases or a long-term contract with an existing ticketing provider to consider.

In these cases, our experience in building integrations between systems comes to the fore. We can’t avoid storing data in multiple systems in these cases, but through our Single Sign On facility we can ensure that individual records are not duplicated by ensuring that all systems are using the same ID for the same contact record. In this way the CRM system will only store a single record for John Smith and allow you to build a unique profile for him based on all interactions that you have had.

In this way communication will be personal and relevant and far more likely to engender a long term, prosperous relationship. On the rare occasion that it does not, the unique ID will allow you to track back and delete all necessary records.

On this occasion it is a change in law which many will see as onerous, which in actual fact could be the trigger to ignite your Customer Engagement strategy.

About the author