Anyone considering outsourced customer service could well be unaware of one big change that is sure to shake up the way information gathering is carried out.

In May 2018, businesses will find themselves subject to more stringent and far-reaching laws on the ways they gather personal information as the EU General Data Protection Regulation becomes law. Unfortunately, it carries with it hefty fines for non-compliance.

Changing how you gather customer details

The GDPR is designed to give the general public far more control and peace of mind over the way their personal information is collected and used. It also requires businesses to encrypt all personal data (on customers, staff and suppliers), and store it in a way that is not only safe, but transparently shown to be safe. There even has to be an auditable trail for information shared between locations and remote workers, and data disposal.

The way the GDPR impacts on telephone answering services is potentially one of most vulnerable areas for businesses. If you don’t start gathering information on customers in the way mandated by the new law, then it will be a very obvious act of non-compliance.

Under the GDPR, your contact centre or internal customer service team can only ask customers for information – even just their name – if they preface the call with clear instructions and information.

Customers may well have to be informed of why you need their personal information, how it will be stored, how long it will be kept for, what it will be used for and how it will be disposed of.

If a customer contacts your customer services team or reception asking to have access to any their personal information you hold, there also needs to be a procedure in place to facilitate that.

Global impact of new law

If, at this point, you are breathing a sigh of relief, thinking that Brexit will render you immune to the EU legislation, then think again.The new data protection laws cover any company that holds any personal information on any citizen of any EU country, meaning that the GDPR will have global impact.

If you would like to begin your journey to compliance under the new data laws, contact Frontline. We are happy to discuss ways you can outsource customer service to experts who stay one step ahead of legal requirements while maintaining high standards.