GDPR - gaining consent to contact your customers

Under the recently introduced GDPR regulations, all businesses in the UK must have consent from their customers in order to keep their details on a database, contact them in future and so forth. So what does this mean and what do you need to do?

As far as the GDPR rules are concerned, consent means ‘offering individuals real choice and control. Genuine consent should put individuals in charge, build trust and engagement and enhance your reputation.’ The challenge for businesses is how to gain consent and maintain an effective contact database.

Building a contact database based on what, when and how consent was given, prevents individuals being bombarded with information they do not want and allows a business to feel confident that they are staying in line with the GDPR rules.

Gaining consent

You can gain consent when clients are asked to sign up to a newsletter or create an account, alternatively e-commerce businesses can use this method at the checkout.

For this opt-in to be sufficient under GDPR, individuals should be allowed to actively make the decision to have their data processed – i.e. tick the box that they are happy to have their data processed and kept on your database. You cannot have a pre-ticked option, which has to be deselected.

You can make the messaging more appealing by using language such as “yes, I would like to keep in touch and hear about new products, services and special offers.” This text can be added next to the tick box to opt in.

 Further action

End-users should always be given the option to go back to their consent declarations at any time for review, validation, to unsubscribe or to make any other changes, for example on the bottom of further correspondence emails, the option should always be given to opt out from previous consent. You can simply add an “unsubscribe” button to the bottom of emails to clients and contacts.

Ensuring you keep records of each user, who they are and when they consented is important to stay within the GDPR rules. If you are sure your customers have consented in line with the new regulations, then you have nothing to do. However, it is a good idea to audit your contact database and implement a re-permission campaign on a regular basis, perhaps every 6-12 months or so.

If you ensure that your clients understand the benefits of staying connected, they will be less likely to unsubscribe.

Kelly Anstee