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The introduction of GDPR on 25th May is a hot topic and one that all businesses, no matter their size, have got to get to grips with.

The new laws coming into play are designed to safeguard the personal data of all EU citizens with the aim of giving control to the individuals. At Millwood, we are undertaking all appropriate measures to ensure the way we work complies with GDPR and ensure that all of our customers’ details are safe and used only strictly in accordance with new regulations.

The safety and security of our customers is our highest priority and we are serious about protecting their data. Gone are the days when customers have no idea how their data is collected, stored or used. We welcome the fact that tighter regulations mean that we have to be more transparent to our customers. And we believe that these measures feed into our ongoing commitment to good customer service.

GDPR regulates how any company collects, stores and uses personal information, placing the responsibility on organisations to prove they are adequately managing and protecting it. This not only applies to data about existing, former and potential customers, but also suppliers, third parties, contactors, employees and anyone whose details are held by that company. Businesses will only be allowed to hold data on customers and clients for the purposes for which it was provided and will have to securely dispose of that data once that purpose has been fulfilled.

Marketing databases are an area where the legislation will be especially pertinent, in particular how data permissions are managed. In practice that means all of our customers will have to specifically opt-in to any form of marketing communication. The new opt-in requirements will mean that every customer will have chosen to receive those communications, allowing for much more direct and targeted communications, which will help us build better and stronger customer relationships.

Under GDPR customers also have to have the ‘right to be forgotten’ – so customers must be given the ability to access and remove any data. There must always be the option to unsubscribe, as well as the option for customers to review the data held at any time and change their preferences and permissions. GDPR also legally requires us to justify the personal data we collect – therefore for marketing purposes, we will only be asking for the data we need and are going to use for a specific purpose.

By improving the way we store and manage data, it gives us the opportunity to capture a clearer view of our customers, allowing us to refine our offering and better deliver a product and level of service that meets their requirements. Improved data management systems containing accurate customer information will help us capture a single customer view, which is key to providing an excellent customer service.

With the May deadline looming, many businesses are worrying about whether they are prepared for GDPR. But with robust procedures for compliance in place, GDPR should not be a daunting prospect. We hope it will instead be an opportunity to grow and improve customer relationships.