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Article 6 min read

Why CX teams need automated privacy tools

Learn how privacy workflow automation promotes stronger data security and increased efficiency for your CX team.

By Ben Brook, CEO, Transcend

Last updated August 30, 2023

Another day with another batch of data subject privacy requests in your queue. Your to-do list was already too long, and now you’re spending more and more time managing user requests for data access and deletion.

This is the reality for many customer experience (CX) teams. In 2021, Virginia and Colorado joined California with state laws, and even more are in the pipeline for 2022. As each privacy regulation passes, users are exercising their data rights in increasing volumes.

For customer success teams to stay ahead, prioritising privacy workflow automation will be key – not only for increasing organisational efficiency today, but for ensuring scalable, successful privacy programmes tomorrow.

How privacy regulation is putting pressure on CX

Privacy is still a nascent industry, so implementing data rights represents a net new initiative for most organisations. With no dedicated privacy platform in place, day-to-day operations like fulfilling data and deletion requests often fall to CX.

And with consistent customer contact and an immediate stake in maintaining positive customer relations, CX teams are in many ways the logical choice.

However, without an automated platform, data request workflows are manual and time-consuming. To authenticate users, compile relevant data, ensure complete deletion or modification across the company’s tech stack, and then return all data to the end user, CX teams are relying on spreadsheets, manual data queries, and ad hoc communication.

Automation is key to efficient privacy workflows

automated privacy tools

The good news is there’s another way. At best, manual workflows are an unnecessary drain on resources. At worst, they’re error-prone and vulnerable to security threats.

Today, automation helps CX teams replace manual work, increase operational efficiency, ensure greater security for sensitive data, and improve customer satisfaction – ultimately creating future proof privacy programs that maximise customer experiences, while minimising the burden on CX.

Automation replaces manual steps in privacy request workflows

Manually responding to privacy requests is time-consuming and difficult to scale. Let’s take a look at the manual steps required.

When a CX team fields data subject privacy requests, they must:

  1. Log each incoming request

  2. Authenticate a user’s identity and eligibility for corresponding data rights (CCPA, GDPR, etc.)

  3. Track request status (Complete, In progress, Blocked, etc.)

  4. Track down data across the entire company data stack

  5. Collate and package all relevant data to send to the user, and/or

  6. Delete data (if requested)

  7. Communicate request outcomes to the user

Steps 2 and 4 are especially difficult when done manually.

Authenticating user identity, step 2, is often a multi-part process that can require additional communication with the user. Automating this part of the process, i.e. including two-factor authentication as part of the initial request, saves your CX team time, reduces security vulnerabilities, and smooths out the user experience.

Tracking down data across an entire company data stack, step 4, can be an incredibly technical process that may require additional support from engineering. Data is often stored across multiple systems, so CX teams first have to find the right system, discover the right data within the system, and then pull that data into a usable format.

Data discovery is especially difficult with unstructured data, such as free-form customer responses. In this scenario, a simple search or even an SQL query may not be enough to pinpoint the correct data points, creating the need for manual search and review.

Automated solutions replace manual steps by connecting a customer-facing privacy request UI with dispersed company data systems–leaving CX teams with the more manageable task of monitoring the platform, and troubleshooting rare, one-off issues.

Aside from replacing manual steps in privacy request workflows, automation also helps ensure greater security for sensitive personal data.

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Automation ensures greater security for sensitive personal data

When it comes to areas as sensitive as data privacy, burdening CX teams with end-to-end data security throughout the request process is unfair and unrealistic. From a productivity standpoint, a task like user authentication, necessary for maintaining integrity within the data request process, can be complex and time-consuming.

Burdening CX teams with end-to-end data security throughout the request process is unfair and unrealistic.

Moreover, implementing robust security infrastructure (on-premise security gateways and key management, as well as E2EE encryption) falls far outside the training and resources of your average CX team.

Manual privacy request workflows are often tracked in spreadsheets, requiring manual collation and review – so a person is reviewing all the data by hand. Each new person who reviews or accesses data represents a potential vulnerability. In fact, according to McKinsey, “about one-third of the breaches in recent years have been attributed to insider threats”.

Ideally, no one would have access to sensitive data within the privacy request process. This may not be feasible for every organisation. But taking a zero-trust approach and limiting access to sensitive data is a best practice across the board.

Though people often represent the most significant threat to data security, any weakness in internal databases can also lead to a serious breach. Without end-to-end encryption, sensitive data is vulnerable, and with a manual privacy request process that level of encryption simply isn’t possible.

Automation helps ensure data security by enabling fully encrypted workflows and limiting the number of individuals with access to sensitive data.

Automation improves customer satisfaction and increases trust

According to a 2019 Cisco survey, “91 percent [of consumers] won’t buy from a company if they don’t trust how their data will be used”.

A clear indication of strong consumer sentiment, this finding implies the high-stakes nature of how companies choose to handle data privacy. Organisations that prioritise privacy and are intentional in their use of consumer data will reap the rewards among their customer base. Those who don’t may find themselves experiencing a higher-than-average level of churn.

Automating privacy workflows helps to improve customer satisfaction in two key ways:

Helping CX teams give customers the data they need quickly and effectively

Offering customers self-serve options that put them in control of their own data, while ensuring greater transparency in the request process as it’s happening

Zendesk x Transcend

Transcend is a data privacy automation platform that makes it simple for companies to give users control of their data. Zendesk is the champion of great service everywhere for everyone, powering billions of conversations with customers through telephony, chat, email, social, and more. The Zendesk/Transcend integration enables companies to fulfill data subject privacy requests within the Zendesk platform seamlessly, securely, and at scale.

As data privacy looms larger on the legislative horizon, regulation and enforcement increase, and consumers grow savvier about their data rights, future-proofing privacy efforts through automation has never been more important.

Automating privacy request workflows replaces manual steps, maximises CX team productivity, ensures greater security for sensitive data, and increases customer satisfaction and trust. In short, it allows CX teams to focus on core responsibilities while ensuring scalable compliance across the board.

Learn more about how the Zendesk/Transcend integration helps companies fulfill data subject privacy requests seamlessly and securely.

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