On May 25th 2018, data collection, sharing and use changes for good. No longer do companies have (essentially) free range over what they can do with your personal data. GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It is due to replace the old Data Protection Act 1998. This new legislation is to protect the privacy, interests and rights of individuals, and if neglected can lead to strict penalties.
As part of the compliance many companies are becoming more open and honest on how they use the data collected. This gives people the information they need to take the leap and fully understand how their information will be used. It adds an element of trust between supplier and consumer. ABM feels strongly about this. Using data responsibly has always been a topic of conversation. We have always ensured we do not send too many emails out through email marketing, we post on our media platforms once a week as to not hassle clientele and we do not under any circumstances use telemarketing as a method of self - promotion. As part of our brand identity we will continue to keep these values despite any changes that may arise. When it concerns our email marketing contacts, we clean our lists by deleting undeliverable emails, opt outs and people who have moved on from a company. The rest we continue to send emails to, as well as buying new data every so often. Our customer data continues to be stored on file until the relationship ends. After this all data relating to them is deleted, unless otherwise requested.
ABM use a 3rd party company to collect new data for business prospects. This company is called Experian, you can check out their GDPR compliance through this link.
Experian have data collectors who ensure the people subscribing have all the information they need relating to where their data is going, what it is going to be used for and what their rights are after their information is passed on. These data collectors then supply it to Experian who create lists with the information. ABM have specific requirements for the data we purchase and we ensure what we send these people is only relevant to what we sell as a company. However, not all emails are related to sales. We prefer to educate people about our industry, how they can make their working environment more efficient and giving information on which technology works best for different scenarios. These are just a few examples that we hope are worth subscribing to. Other ways we collect data are closer to the business / customer relationships we currently hold. Customer data such as names, addresses, contact information and payment details are collected differently. These are mainly through face to face interactions, emails back and forth or through contract signing. As this is a beneficial business agreement both for customer and supplier, it is noted as opting in. However, we are changing our process slightly to ensure our customers know where their data is being used. This will be documented and sent to them with their contract, or through email.
Being a SME sized business, we would find it very time consuming and resource draining to collect email marketing data ourselves. With Experian we find that we can tailor parameters for the type of businesses we would like to support. The lists we buy are specific to businesses we wish to approach. By doing this, it gives us the freedom to enter new areas and new businesses in a short amount of time. Experian is a highly regarded data collection company. We purposely use a well- known name, connecting with real people and gaining useful lists for real results. This data is important to the continued growth and longevity of ABM Computer Solutions as an IT support company for businesses.
When people unsubscribe to our email campaigns, we receive an opt out email. These emails are then deleted off record, never to be used again. It works the same with undeliverable emails. When it comes to customer data our processes ensure all data is no longer stored. The first part of our process is a group meeting talking about all the data, we have on the customer and where it is stored. After this a technician calls the customer ensuring all data and contracts are to be terminated. Any costs involved with the termination are invoiced. The customer can choose to continue with any third - party contracts we set up and support. (e.g. broadband) As long as the customer continues to pay us for this contract until it ends, there are no other costs involved. If not, the contract is terminated and all data is deleted. Customers can leave depending on their contractual obligation. Once their contract ends, they are free to leave with generally no costs involved. (Depending on what other 3rd party contracts they pay for through us). Customers can simply state their intention to leave and we will explain to them all of the information involved with terminating their contract. If termination costs apply, we will also detail how much this is (if the leave the contract earlier than stated). Thankfully it does not happen very often, but it is always disappointing when it does.