CRM solutions help comply with GDPR. Source: Shutterstock

How your CRM can help you comply with GDPR

BUSINESSES across the world are struggling to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation. However, customer relationship management (CRM) systems can help businesses comply.

In an exclusive interview with Tech Wire Asia, Sandie Overtveld, VP APAC, Zendesk explains the how and what of CRM and how it keeps data safe:

What are some key areas where a CRM really helps mid-to-large sized businesses today?

In today’s fast-moving business landscape, reliable and actionable consumer data is critical for businesses to set themselves apart with modern, engaged, and effective customer experience.

One common challenge to achieving that is internal teams from medium and large organizations that are set up to work in silos – as compared to their start-up and small business counterparts.

Data collected through these siloed model across business functions are typically stored in multiple systems and utilized in isolation of data from other departments, often translating into poorly tailored or lapses in customer experiences.

Customer service software addresses this by integrating and streamlining various customer touchpoints to help businesses collect valuable consumer data into a common platform, readily accessible across internal teams, and ultimately turn these insights into meaningful engagement.

How should companies safeguard the data on their CRM while still helping different teams make the most of it?

Data is generated with every consumer interaction, given the right motivations, hackers are even able to tap into customer touchpoints and track them in real time.

But given that data security and privacy are not necessarily mutually exclusive, the bigger issue here with consumer data is not so much a security than a social concern.

In other words, it is in the best interest of businesses to focus their efforts to use that data to improve their customer engagement instead of only using that to approach them with a barrage of poorly targeted ads.

Search engines are fantastic examples of how search results are optimized for the preferences of each user by collecting data on their online habits. They’ve demonstrated to their customers in a tangible way how sharing of data can be used to create value-added engagement.

Can a CRM proactively help businesses comply with GDPR and other data privacy laws?

Customer service software does not necessarily help businesses comply with GDPR but rather pose a huge opportunity for businesses to elevate the customer experience and stand out from the competition.

GDPR requires organizations to be more transparent about how they process and use customers’ personal data, and advocating greater transparency could lead to greater consumer trust. This potentially encourages customers to become more willing to share specific data in exchange for better service.

Stricter privacy rules provide an excellent opportunity to utilize customer service software to break down data silos within their business. This improves how customer data is stored and organized, significantly improving communications with customers.

Additionally, GDPR also gives customers the right to data portability so customer service software must be equipped with the features to support this. This demonstrates to customers that their needs come first, giving your business that extra boost in consumer confidence.

What are some of the exciting things CRM can do with the help of big data, analytics, and AI/ML?

We are definitely seeing more integration of modern, innovative technology advancements such as artificial intelligence and machine learning into customer support software.

Chatbots utilizes various kinds of AI to process and respond to natural language, automating customer service through different glass-fronted consumer devices. Whether it’s a simple scripted bot answering FAQs or an AI-backed bot programmed to make product recommendations, bots are manning customer service front lines more often – allowing for more scalable solutions.

With the data and analytics, automation also help businesses manage their workflow and, potentially, improve performance and customer satisfaction by alerting them to tickets that remain unresolved and need to be escalated. Time-based automation will enable follow-ups to automatically occur according to a timeframe that has been set up in the assigned workflow for tickets that are not closed.

This allows more customer engagement agents to focus their resources on more value-added engagements.

What’s in store for the future of CRMs?

Mobile has and will continue to drive innovation in the CRM space. With Generation Y (aged 19 to 37), we are observing a sizeable shift in preference from traditional channels to mobile and chat in customer service.

The adoption of CRM on mobile still has plenty of room for improvement. Businesses that are slow in integrating mobile platforms for customer engagement will potentially miss out on a huge opportunity to revolutionize their customer experience.

Businesses will also be channeling resources into understanding customer needs. Balancing enterprise goals with customer expectations will then form the bedrock of all future developments in adopting the appropriate customer service software.

What do you see CRM evolving into and how will they make life easier for business executives and managers in the future?

Integrating data warehouses with customer service software will also be the priority for business leaders and managers in terms of consolidating consumer data across the organization for the purposes of strategic planning and understanding your customer.

Without proper tracking across different departments in an integrated fashion, data analysis becomes problematic. This will ultimately pose challenges for management teams in interpreting data and developing action plans to achieving enterprise goals.