The three privacy priorities of winning brands

By Javier Diez-Aguirre, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, CSR & Environment, Ricoh Europe

Ricoh Europe, 7 July 2017 There’s an old saying, “ they may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel .” This rings remarkably true when it comes to customer service. It’s the quality of the impression you leave your customers with that will dictate your future revenue.

This cuts both ways. 70% of consumers reported in Ricoh commissioned research that the best brands are those that pay close attention to their needs. At the same time, 89% of consumers would drop out of the buying process if they felt a brand was too intrusive. The line between helpful attention and unwanted intrusion is clearly one successful brands must walk.

Faced with an incredible breadth of choice, consumers increasingly care about connections with brands. They feel ‘loved’ by their favourite brands and ‘offended’ by their least. For small and medium sized businesses, this is a great opportunity. SMBs can use personal, intimate service levels to stand out from the pack.

To do this effectively brands have to show they respect customers after the initial sale. Personalised discounts and localised offers are a great way of securing loyalty. However, with politicians debating encryption, the GDPR [1] looming in the EU and consumers becoming more distrustful of invasive data-policies, brands must tread carefully. They must be open to customer feedback on how they use data, and transparent around their policies. Crucially, they must refrain from over-stepping the mark of consumer trust or face the financial consequences.

To help aspiring brands navigate this privacy/personalisation minefield, we’ve collated three key insights from our recently commissioned research. These are ways that winning brands assure today’s privacy-savvy consumer: 
1.     Be open and transparent - Identify where you can most easily communicate your data and privacy commitments to new and existing customers. Ensure this is done with full transparency and with clearly articulated terms and conditions. Consistency across all customer facing channels is crucial. Deploy tools such as external encryption and data compliance officers for your customers if necessary. 
2.     GDPR compliance - Many organisations, small and large, are trying to understand their new obligations under the incoming GDPR. To start they should examine the gaps between their existing compliance setup and state outlined in the GDPR. It’s likely that a number of changes will need to be made in order to reach the updated requirements. Remember; “when eating an elephant take one bite at a time”. Establish the timeframe and cost these changes will entail to avoid nasty surprises down the line. Work with third parties and partners where data protection needs to be embedded into services by design. This will ensure brands are fully prepared for the impact of the new regulation when it’s comes into force on 25th May 2018. 
3.     Maintain security across all devices and locations - Sensitive information is potentially at risk throughout its lifecycle. This is especially true when data are managed in a poorly controlled document environment. Brands have to securely distribute, share, track and manage confidential documents and data across the entire organisation. This means maintaining security standards at each stage of its lifecycle. Data cleansing services, for example, ensure that no personally identifiable or business critical information can be retained on the memory of multi-function printers once retired from operation, a key threat vector for small businesses.

It’s a tough line to walk, but the value of individually tailored communications is too great to forego. Simply put, successful brands have to personalise their interaction with customers to stand out. Smart data use can propel your brand to new heights. However, the best brands also constantly demonstrate that they are acting responsibly with the data they collect in a way that is respectful of their customers.

For more information, visit www.ricoh-europe.com/thoughtleadership .


[1] http://www.eugdpr.org/

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Ricoh Europe PLC 
Jack Gibson 
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| About Ricoh
Ricoh is a global technology company that has been transforming the way people work for more than 80 years. Under its corporate tagline – imagine. change. – Ricoh continues to empower companies and individuals with services and technologies that inspire innovation, enhance sustainability and boost business growth. These include document management systems, IT services, production print solutions, visual communications systems, digital cameras, and industrial systems.

Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in approximately 200 countries and regions. In the financial year ended March 2017, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 2,028 billion yen (approx. 18.2 billion USD). For further information, please visit www.ricoh-europe.com .

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