Brands that embrace GDPR and the opportunities it brings will win greater customer confidence and achieve more brand integrity and business growth. Those who see it as an inconvenience will, inevitably, fall behind. Don Bergal, Avoka outlines how businesses can use the impending regulation as an opportunity to regenerate key front-end systems and processes of customer engagement, acquisition and management. 

GDPR. Four letters that are increasingly dominating the business and tech pages to remind us of the associated fines, regulatory clashes and its looming deadline.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom: GDPR is not solely a compliance challenge – it’s a customer relationship opportunity.

In a digital age of consumer empowerment, the dynamic of power is moving increasingly into the hands of the individual. And GDPR is no exception. The new data protection rules, coming into effect on 25th May 2018, put customers in control of their data, with the right to access, update and remove the data held on them.

Financial services firms are failing to recognise the potential of GDPR as a catalyst to regenerate key front-end systems and processes of customer engagement, acquisition and management.

Although the vast majority of customers will be unaware of the finer details of GDPR, banks that offer a simple experience, and those who make the process of managing personal information transparent, will be perceived as offering a better customer experience, better service and will be considered easier to work with.  Especially for an upcoming generation of customers who are more digitally savvy than ever before, a superior GDPR interface will be a competitive differentiator.

The challenge

One of the core tenets of GDPR is putting control in the hands of the customer rather than the institution. The whole notion of transparency, giving a customer visibility of the records held, is new.  As such, there is a need for systems which allow customers to access, update and withdraw their data, whilst holding this information securely and in compliance with regulatory change.

Many banks currently hold data on disparate systems and, the more systems, the more difficult it is to hold, manage and grant customers access to their data securely.

In other words, firms need to make data accessible, available in one place and absolutely secure.

The solution

With the right technology systems in place, new digital and mobile interfaces that allow customers to access all of the rights allowed to them by GDPR, whilst keeping their data secure, are possible. For example, by creating systems of strong authentication, new technologies such as digital identity verification can be integrated into data management systems to prevent fraudulent access.

It’s also important to be realistic: the regulations are so wide, and coming so fast, that banks will not be able to implement everything from day one. They will need agile systems that allow their customer experience to evolve continuously, while not impacting the back-office systems of record that naturally move much more slowly and are difficult to change.

Customer facing systems are an opportunity for banks to move more quickly, show progress to their customers, and potentially differentiate – but only if they utilise and integrate new technology into their data management system.