Nearly 60% of UK businesses are concerned that their own customer data may not comply with GDPR

PRESS RELEASE: The third annual research survey into the use and management of customer data from Royal Mail Data Services, the specialist data business of Royal Mail Group, reveals that 58 per cent of UK businesses are concerned that their own customer data may not comply with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The findings form part of the new Royal Mail Data Services’ research report – entitled The Six Per Cent Solution = How Better Customer Data Drives Marketing Performance and Business Growth – which reveals that while almost one in five companies (18 per cent) have already started to implement repermissioning campaigns, 28 per cent of organisations have no plans to approach customers for fresh permission to market to them and 20 per cent do not know whether they will seek fresh permission from their customers.

Royal Mail Data Services warns that by rushing to meet the 25 May 2018 enforcement deadline, there is the danger that consumers will be bombarded with permission requests from many different organisations that they may choose to either ignore or decline. As a result, organisations may find themselves holding non-compliant, unusable customer contact data which could impede future communications with customers.

Jim Conning, Managing Director, Royal Mail Data Services, comments: “With less than 12 months in which to comply with the GDPR, I urge all organisations to get moving with their repermissioning campaigns and compliance programmes. Managing customer contact data is a complex business, so it’s worth seeking expert advice to ensure future marketing communications are compliant with the new laws. Our GDPR RADAR Audit Service is just one way we’re able to help our customers comply with the new regulations. By failing to act now, organisations not only run the risk of fines but also a loss in customer confidence resulting from the use of inaccurate, unpermissioned contact data.”

The research also finds that the use of data from third-party providers had declined by nine percentage points since 2014. Half of organisations (50 per cent) now rely on their own first-party data to support their marketing activities, and 30 per cent do not source or hold third-party data at all.

Conning continues: “In light of the GDPR, the reluctance to use third-party data, while understandable, is somewhat shortsighted. As the report also shows, the quality of customer contact data has declined over the last two years. Organisations need to embrace the use of permissioned and compliant third-party customer contact data as part of their overall drive to GDPR compliance, but they need to also ensure that this data is accurate and targeted. The quality of customer contact data could be improved if companies made use of third-party validation and enhancement services rather than relying solely on information captured directly from customers.”

The GDPR, approved by the EU Parliament on 14 April 2016, is due to be enforced on 25 May 2018. Its aim is to protect all EU citizens from privacy and data breaches in an increasingly data-driven world. Organisations in breach of the GDPR can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 million (whichever is greater).

Royal Mail Data Services helps organisations meet the compliance and data-quality challenges of collecting, managing and using accurate, permissioned customer contact and address data to improve marketing performance.

Responses to the research survey were collected via an online self-completion questionnaire served to registered members of the DataIQ community and customers of Royal Mail Data Services during September 2016. A total of 272 complete responses from senior marketing, data and analytics practitioners were included for analysis in the research report.

You can download the full report, The Six Per Cent Solution = How Better Customer Data Drives Marketing Performance and Business Growth, here.