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gdpr customer data

GDPR and CRM: 5 Ways To Manage Customer Data in 2021

December 30, 2020

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the process of managing your business’s interactions with its customers. The CRM analyses the customer data to make business decisions and grow the customer base. The GDPR’s arrival improved or redefined the CRM. In this post, we will look into various ways you can manage the customer data to make your CRM GDPR Compliant.

The world runs on data. Data-driven decision making is gaining a lot of attention. According to research, 91% of companies think that data-driven decisions can impact their businesses’ growth. That is why many companies rely on their customer data for making business decisions. 

Data-driven decisions with a proper strategy can bring positive results to the business. You can use customer data for every section of the company, such as product development, marketing, customer service, and management. Before we explore CRM and GDPR, let us understand what GDPR is.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a Europe-wide law aiming to protect EU residents’ rights and freedom.

It came into effect on May 25, 2018. Any business that processes the personal data of EU residents is liable to comply with the GDPR.

It has various principles, lawful bases for processing data, and customer rights that a business must follow to be compliant. It covers various aspects of processing personal data, such as collection, use, transfer, protection, and storage. 

Failing to comply with the GDPR could result in financial penalties.

The GDPR’s impact on marketing is significant. It has changed the way digital marketing must deal with customer data and follow other standards to be GDPR compliant.

How to manage customer data for GDPR compliance?

Here are five things the CRM must include for GDPR compliance. 

#1 Identify the customer data

Identifying what type of personal data your business collects is the first step in beginning your GDPR compliance journey. Per GDPR, personal data refers to any information that will help in identifying a natural person. E.g., 

GDPR customer data - personal data examples

There is another category called sensitive personal data. It includes data related to racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, genetic data, biometric data, data concerning health, or data concerning someone’s sex life or sexual orientation.

You must also be careful if you use children’s data.

Once you identify and categorize them, it becomes easy to manage them.

#2 Manage the customer data

Whenever you collect, use, share, or store personal data, you must ensure that all the processes follow the GDPR principles, such as:

GDPR customer data - principles

The identified data may have different purposes. You must identify if they come under the lawful bases of the processing. Whatever may be your basis of processing, maintain the record of it.

Consent is one of the lawful bases. If your processing requires the customers’ explicit consent, your CRM must include consent management provisions. 

When you receive customers’ consent, per GDPR, you must maintain a record of it. You can store the consent obtained with its status (accepted or rejected). You can only process customers’ data if you have their consent. Maintaining a log of all consent received will help to demonstrate proof of consent if necessary.

If you have used any third-party services, such as marketing or analytics cookies, to collect customer data, that should be reflected in the CRM. You must also ensure that these third-party services are GDPR compliant. 

Limit access to customer data within the organization. Sensitive data must not be shared with everyone and must be handled carefully. 

Email services must provide options for double opt-in, i.e., confirming subscription twice. You have to send emails to customers according to what they opted for. 

You must remove any customer data that you no longer require or have permission to process from the database. 

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#3 Protect the customer data

Protection of customer data should be kept in mind every step of the way. You must ensure and adopt safety measures to keep the customer database secure. Sensitive data may require special care and protection.

Limited access is helpful. However, you must also ensure that your system is not prone to hacks and attacks.

You must regularly update your system and get multilevel security for it.

Data encryption, limited logins, and security tools are some ways you can protect the data. 

Suppose there is a threat of a data breach. Then, your system must alert the customers on time and kickstart the necessary measures to prevent it. In the event of a data breach, you must notify the affected customers and the superior authority about it without any delay.

#4 Exercise the customer rights over data

Customers have certain rights under the GDPR. These rights ensure that they are in control. You are responsible for making provisions for them to exercise their rights.

Customers have the right to access and request to delete or modify their data. And you have to make sure you take the necessary actions to carry out the requests. Your response to customer requests must be prompt. You must have a genuine and logical reason if you want to delay or refuse the request.

The CRM must involve assessing the request and take the appropriate action.

#5 Assess the customer database for risks 

The CRM also includes the assessment of the customer database for possible threats to the data. Analyze the data stored and the system for vulnerabilities and implement the appropriate measures. The key is to reduce or avoid risks at the inception of the processing.

Wrapping Up

The customers prefer their data to be safe when they share it. It is your responsibility to protect it and follow the law. A company that can effectively manage its customer data and remains GDPR compliant will positively impact its sales. It will help in growing the business further.

Disclaimer: This post is for information purposes only. It does intend to be a substitute for legal advice. If you require legal assistance, you should contact an attorney.

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