The immediate challenges of GDPR requirements have long passed – businesses understand that treating data and information from our clients with diligence and care is crucial to business operations and our legal duty. However, we ask ourselves a key question: are we treating data security and privacy as a necessary obligation or because we value and respect our clients?
A recurring theme related to data privacy and security is the somewhat fatigued topic of Consent Management.
Consent Management is the entire flow of consent between you and your customer. That includes: the collection of the consent, the method you use to collect your consent, the way you allow your customers to manage their consent, the way your staff uses this consent in different systems for direct communication, the location you store the consent in and more – to give you a rough overview.
Consent management, at the start, is about deciding which type and extent of permissions you would like to obtain from your partners or clients to be able to communicate with them through all the channels you currently have in use.
It is a human need to interact and communicate. We do so in various ways: non-verbal, verbal, digitally, analog, in groups or in a 1:1 conversation. Communication creates trust, intimacy and an understanding for one another. That is why, before judging consent management as yet another topic with a lot of effort and a doubtful outcome, it provokes us to think twice: Effective communication is essential for our human existence and if customers do not immediately trust your capability in the way you communicate in the first place, why would they trust your capability in products and services after all?
Organizations which interact with their customers successfully outperform the market. They make use of their relevant customer data, choose the right sender, channel, message and moment to get in touch with their customers and build up trusting relationships. A tailored approach to product information and recommendations, individual feedback options on services received or personalized messaging are just a few examples. Not having a permission to start building such customer relationships, may cause a massive roadblock along the road of customer communication. Investing into your consent architecture and strategy is the call for action of the hour. It is of highest importance to create competitiveness through increased digitization to shape a customer-centric organization that is resilient in times of crisis.
Giving consent should be created in a way that is easy-to-use for customers. At the same time, it should create a lever to the organization asking for consent. Customers should not feel tempted to “opt-out” from the communication with your organization. Customers should understand why “opting-in” to have direct communication with you through their consent bears numerous benefits for them. Consent management affects all steps within the customer journey. This means in short: Understanding your customer’s needs is the first step to design an impactful consent management strategy. Take a step back and think critically again: Is your consent management strategy really customer-centric? Are you thinking about the down-stream impact on future sales and service?
With state-of-the-art technology available, implementing the right consent management for your business may be overwhelming. We suggest starting by seeing IT as an enabler and a functioning tandem with business, joined up for a holistic view on customer needs. Try not to see IT as another roadblock you preferably choose to ignore or, in a worst-case-scenario, blame for the shortcomings of an ill-defined consent management strategy. The same holds true for the governance you establish of your consent management. Cross-functional involvement of experts is key in developing a solution that is welcomed by your clients and finds acceptance in your market. How may you find the balance between data monetization, data privacy and respecting customers’ choices?
Another consideration for designing a consent management strategy is to not leave your client-facing staff alone in handling consent management. There will be new questions and a lot of support needed for them. Stakeholders from across a business can provide added value to discussions if consulted. Reporting and monitoring may be automated, integrated and thoroughly discussed, but the benefits of giving consent need to be explained to and then by your field staff, product experts, customer service employees – any group in your organization that builds trust with your customers. Let’s also keep in mind that – at least to some extend – business development is the responsibility of every employee.
It is your employees’ diligence, care and respect that will make a difference on your road to sustainable success, and last but not least the number of people opting-in with a “yes”…!