Most organizations today provide exceptional customer service, and this capability comes from understanding the customer’s persona, purchasing and transaction patterns, preferences, etc.
Erstwhile customer service strategies included taking surveys or personally connecting to the customer, asking for his/her feedback and expectation from the brand. Today though, as organizations explore digital possibilities, they automatically capture the customer’s engagement with the brand, collect the data, purchase history, buying frequency, and they create an elaborate report which is used to serve customers better — the objective of the organization here sure is genuine but, is the customer aware that his/her engagement with the brand is tracked and recorded, even if it is for their benefit? So, in the effort to provide great customer service, organizations must consider one important factor.
Customer or Consumer Consent
Essentially, consumer consent means explicitly taking your customers’ permission to study their engagement with your brand or send them information regarding a new product or service. This certainly makes for a good business sense too. Given how cybercrimes and frauds are increasing at an alarming rate, it is quite possible that your customer may first get apprehensive and not excited about a message or e-mail about a product or service of your company. The first thoughts to strike their minds would be “how did they know I was looking for this product?” or “How did I receive this offer without asking for it, is it a scam?”. However, your customers would never fret over your company’s messages when they know they have given their consent to receiving the messages.
There are multiple ways (of course, legitimate) to let your customers know that you are requesting for their information.
How is consent obtained?
Ask upfront: a very inter-personal way of requesting consent. When the consumer visits the company, he/she will be told about how the company intends to use their information for better customer experience and asks if the consumer consents to it. This, however, may be risky if consent is taken orally and not recorded.
Consent links: generally, an email or SMS carries a link. As soon as the recipient clicks on the link, he will be requested to opt-in consent. There may be descriptions that entail why the information is being collected, how it will be stored, and with whom it is shared; if, the consumer is comfortable, he will opt-in and give his consent.
Consent forms: the consumer must fill in his basic details such as name, contact number, etc. generally, “I, ……….. hereby declare” is a crucial part of the form where the consumer declares his readiness and willingness to share his information with the company. The company also specifies that the consent will not be misused.
SMS: one of the most effective ways to obtain consent is to send across a message that clearly requests for consent. The recipient has two options- either click on the consent link or reply with a “Yes” or “No”.
Now that you know how important consumer consent is and the multiple ways to obtain the same, let’s break important news to you.
Consumer consent is now regulatory compliance!
As we mentioned earlier, obtaining consumer consent is good business sense and ethical. But now it is a mandatory practice to be followed as per the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). In accordance with the GDPR, consent must be freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous. In order to obtain freely given consent, it must be given on a voluntary basis.
GDPR is obligatory compliance for organizations that have a consumer base in the EU. However, obtaining consumer consent in conformity with the GDPR standards has become a popular adoption, regardless of the company’s geographical location, with an aim to protect the consumer data from data breaches and cybercrimes.
GDPR compliance has empowered the consumers; they have all the authority to question and take legal actions on companies that collect, track, and store their data without consent. For instance, In January 2019, CNIL’s restricted committee imposed a financial penalty of 50 Million euros against Google Inc for lack of valid consent for ad personalization under the GDPR compliance
In addition to GDPR, regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that allows the consumer to see their information available with the company and as well as demand the list of third-parties their information is shared with is gaining momentum too.
So, it is certain that companies will comply with the obligatory policies and explicitly obtain consent from every customer, irrespective of the number. However, this sure is a daunting task. Which is why Consent Management Platforms makes for a great choice.
Consent Management Platforms (CMP)
CMP allows organizations to obtain and manage consumer consent in conformity with the GDPR regulations. CMP should be integrated with the company website, and it keeps the consumer informed about the kind of information that is collected, the purpose of the same, and asks for the consumer consent for data processing. CMP becomes a requisite for companies that process personal data, automates decision making, and transfers data overseas.
Why is consent management important?
According to an interesting read, 48% of consumers are now suspicious about how companies use their data, with the figure increasing year-on-year as data security breaches become more frequent and of greater interest to the wider public.
Finally, the ultimate objective of every organization is to ensure their customers are happy with their service and this can be achieved only if the company knows its customers well. However, the customers are worried about their data and would never wish to encounter cyber fraud.
So, they are all right with for company using their information¬— they’d just appreciate if their consent is taken for the same.