The new data protection act came into effect nearly a month ago. As a result, your customer database may be a little emptier than usual. Businesses are following various strategies to capture more data and increase customer acquisition. I caught up with Amii Lanham, who heads up Gather’s Data Services team, to consider what’s happening in more detail. We explored the GDPR’s impact on her team and how capturing clean data can help to develop an effective CRM strategy.

What does Gather's Data Services team do?

Broadly speaking, our responsibilities split into three areas.

We bring clients on board. We help them to clarify what they need and want. Then we translate those requirements into technical solutions that are practical and achieve the end goal.

We provide detailed insights into customer data. Clients collect a lot of high-quality customer information once using our data capture app. We help them make sense of the numbers and come to informed decisions.

We help our clients develop a CRM strategy. We also help them implement their CRM strategy in order to build long-term relationships with customers.

Why do you work for Gather?

Because we’re problem solvers. Everyone on the team enjoys overcoming the challenge that each new client requirement presents. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a leap in results for the client once they’re on the app. And you know that you’ve helped to make that happen.

Plus, we’re data geeks. Details get us going. Some fascinating insights come out of datasets, especially with the variety of Gather’s clients and applications.

Can you describe the Data Services team in three words?

Dynamic. Responsive. Empathetic.

What’s been the impact of interest in the GDPR?

In one sense, not much has changed. Gather and our solutions for clients have been GDPR compliant for a long time, so rollouts continue much the same as usual.

However, we’ve noticed that clients are now considering more innovative ways to market to their engaged customer database. Their focus is shifting towards quality, not quantity. So they are increasingly concerned with the intricacies of the data that they want to capture.

When do you expect businesses to settle down regarding the GDPR?

For most, this will be once they start to see their new customer acquisition strategy bearing fruit. This will likely mean developing a new CRM strategy and getting used to being more tactical with campaigns. Some companies will essentially be learning a whole new way of marketing, so this won’t happen overnight.

How would you describe the relationship between data and consumers?

It’s changing. The GDPR has made consumers much more aware of how organisations use their data. It’s a great opportunity for organisations to be transparent in how they use and protect personal data, and build trust with consumers.

What other enquiries come in from clients?

Lots of clients want to understand how data capture software works in practice – mostly how the app syncs data from the Gather Portal. That’s a real mystery for them. We help to demystify it.

Other questions often revolve around bespoke features. We work to understand what clients think they need, and then translate that into something less bespoke and more cost-effective.

Are there ever any surprises?

Only from last minute adjustments to project plans. We provide immediate support though, so changes at the eleventh hour don’t pose much of a problem.

Have you seen any particularly interesting uses of Gather’s app?

One client used the app as part of a customer profiling exercise in a shopping centre. Displaying several products, they encouraged passersby to take what they wanted and leave whatever sum of money they felt was reasonable.

We produced a form which the client used to answer profiling questions about passersby who took products. It recorded their gender, age, clothing, accessories, hair, type of pet, what they took and how much money they left.

The client used the data from this research to create customer profiles and inform the pricing structure of the product. It also influenced how the client developed its CRM strategy and marketed the product to different demographics.

And what’s the key to clean data?

- Vet data when you capture it and provide immediate feedback to users

- Ensure you have minimal ‘required’ fields to avoid customers and prospects submitting dummy data

- Follow a regular data suppression schedule to remove unnecessary information from your database

Discover how you can capture clean data and develop your CRM strategy. Start a conversation with a Gather expert.

Or download our free GDPR eGuide for businesses navigating the new data protection act.

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