GDPR: an opportunity, not a stumbling block, for contact centers

GDPR: an opportunity, not a stumbling block, for contact centers

By Chris Mitchell, Chief Technology Officer


With GDPR already in effect, it’s time that contact centers stop worrying and see the legislation for what it really is: an opportunity for contact centers across the world to improve standards and customer service. In this blog post, we’ll briefly cover how GDPR has and will impact contact centers and how you can make the most of the new regulations.

The impact of GDPR on US Contact centers

Yes, the EU regulations definitely do impact US contact centers. Anyone that holds data on EU citizens or markets to them in any way needs to abide by these new rules. Even if you don’t yet count EU citizens amongst your customers or your client’s customers, it is important for any company with a vision for European expansion to start abiding by regulations now. It will make it a whole lot easier in the future.

What are customers’ rights surrounding their data?

EU individuals have eight rights under GDPR laws. These are:

  1. The right to be informed: Companies need to tell people when their data is being collected, how it is used and how long it will be kept. It must be communicated in plain language.
  2. The right to access: Individuals have the right to access the data a company holds about them for free.
  3. The right to rectification: Individuals have the right to update or change their data if it is inaccurate or incomplete.
  4. The right to be forgotten: Individuals can ask for their data to be forgotten when it is no longer being used, has been collected unlawfully or is no longer being held under new regulations.
  5. The right to restrict processing: Individuals can restrict the way in which an organization uses their data.
  6. The right to portability: Individuals can transfer their data for their own purposes across different services.
  7. The right to object: Individuals can object to the processing of their data
  8. Rights related to automatic decision making: Individuals are allowed to challenge decisions made automatically without human involvement.

An opportunity to improve processes

For some contact centers, these rights will mean a formalization of their current privacy and security settings and nothing else. While this might not seem like a big deal, it is always good to have all of your ducks in a row. For others, however, it will force them into completely changing the way in which they handle customer data. And this can only be a good thing. We’ve all witnessed the fallout from Facebook’s inability to properly handle user data. Being responsible for something similar, whether your own company or on behalf of a client, could irreversibly ruin a contact center’s reputation. It’s better to address these issues now before it is too late.

An opportunity for increased business

The right for individuals to access their data will inevitably lead to these kinds of requests becoming common. And it is likely that contact centers will be the ones fielding these requests on behalf of customers. Developing processes to handle these requests effectively can be a huge source of increased businesses to contact centers who quickly get on top of regulations. It won’t just improve the service that you offer to current clients, it can offer the opportunity to win new business from multinational corporations looking to build partnerships with contact centers who are at the top of their game.

An opportunity to clean up data collection

Many contact centers are guilty of collecting and storing vast amounts of irrelevant personal data as a result of habit. GDPR requires companies to create “privacy by design” and that means only collecting and storing data that is necessary. As such, contact centers will be required to determine what data is truly necessary and clean everything else. This won’t just make processes more streamlined in the future, it will also reduce the risk of future data leaks and their severity should they occur.

It’s clear that rather than a black cloud that all organizations have to live under, GDPR can actually be a force for good in the contact center space. These are the kind of opportunities that can help great organizations get even better, gaining new business and increasing profitability as a result.

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