How to capture and use customer data effectively (and lawfully)

How to capture and use customer data effectively (and lawfully)

Data has become a commodity and a valuable asset to any business that provides products and services to others – whether B2B or B2C. The value is not only to the business that collects it but to the subjects also, as it can lead to bespoke products and tailored services to better meet individual needs.

In the automotive industry, customer data allows dealerships to remind customers when their MOT or service is due, when their warranty is about to expire or even just to send a birthday discount on a vehicle check-up. The dealership benefits also, of course, through greater retention, improved satisfaction ratings and, ultimately, increased profits.

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How do dealerships capture customer data?

There are many ways and points in the sales process to record customer data. One of the earliest might be when a potential customer is on your website – using a form to add them to your mailing list or to provide a call back service. The customer may even want to book a test drive through your website, therefore providing data.

Your sales team could capture data throughout a customer’s visit to your forecourt, either when the sale progresses or even if the customer can’t find what they’re looking for. Offer to get in touch if the vehicle, deal or product they are looking for becomes available at a future date. Another opportunity is providing a feedback form, either paper or through digital tablets, for visitors to your dealership. This generates valuable feedback and also, if they consent, an opportunity to contact them about your products and services.

How to use customer data effectively and lawfully?

There is a myriad of possible uses for customer data, but it’s important both collection and processing meets Article 6 of the GDPR. This sets out six lawful bases for using that data. More information on Article 6 and other rules under the GDPR can be found in our free to download eBook: GDPR – Is the automotive industry compliant?

If you’d like to send regular emails to customers with your latest deals and vehicles, customers will have to provide specific consent to receive such communications. Under GDPR rules, this means clear and plain language is necessary when explaining what the customer is consenting to, they must opt-in (by ticking a box, for example), the consent must be documented and it has to be easy to withdraw consent if the customer changes their mind.

Data is a valuable and powerful resource if used correctly. To stay up to date with the latest data protection regulations and for further information visit

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