As well as producing sales leads, several other metrics are used to determine the value telemarketing generates for a business. Among them is the number of email addresses captured by the telemarketing team. Email is really important for a marketing database because it allows organisations to drip feed their company messages and brand in a low-cost way. However, it will come as no surprise that there are rules surrounding the collection of email addresses. As with any other item of data that can be used to identify an individual, consent must be generated in line with GDPR telemarketing compliance. The General Data Protection Regulation came into effect in May 2018. It contains rules concerning the protection of people and how their personal data is processed.
Consent in GDPR telemarketing
There some key factors relating to GDPR telemarketing practice that exist around the issue of consent. The collecting and storing of personal data is considered lawful only when data subjects, that is the person the data relates to, provide their specific consent to this processing for one or more purposes. So if the consent of a data subject is gathered, companies may process personal data of individuals provided its use is in line with the six principles of data protection of lawfulness, purpose limitation, data minimisation, accuracy, storage limitation, integrity/confidentiality – in other words, it’s protected and only used for the reasons specified when the permission was given by the data subject.
Consent given freely
While views on the subject of GDPR telemarketing and consent can vary, its definition in Article 4(11) GDPR says that ‘consent’ of the data subject means any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her. This can therefore be done by asking the question, ‘can we take your email address so we can keep you informed of our products or services’. The data subject can then grant or decline agreement to the processing of personal data that relates to them.
Conditions for consent
Article 7 of the GDPR specifies particular conditions for consent to be gathered. So where data subjects have given their consent to the processing of their personal data, organisations must be able to show how this is achieved. GDPR telemarketing databases might for example contain a tick box and statement that the telemarketer will use to confirm consent has been sought and granted. Where consent is also requested for other things such as an appointment that has been generated, the request for consent must be distinguished as additional to the other purposes.
Limitations of consent
Any language used for GDPR telemarketing consent gathering should be clear and easy to understand. If a data subject gives their consent to the processing of personal data, it should not be assumed that an organisation has a right to process the data indefinitely. And of course, personal data is not just email. Anything that can be identifiable with an individual is personal data. This includes name, job title, direct dial, and mobile numbers among other things. Under GDPR telemarketing must respect and protect this data, keep it for only as long as necessary and only for the purpose directly linked to the consent given.
Consent is a privilege not a right
Data subjects can withdraw consent at any time, but the processing taking place before that withdrawal request is still considered lawful. Before a person gives his or her consent, he or she must be informed about the possibility of withdrawing it and it must be as easy to withdraw the consent as to give it. As ever, GDPR telemarketing practice should not seek simple compliance. Companies like Blue Donkey who value their brand, and take pride in everything they do should seek to take a position of best practice, not simply compliance. So you and your frontline telemarketing team should not only embrace good GDPR telemarketing practices, like the Blue Donkey team, you should be an advocate for it. Only then will the future of our industry and the privilege we’re granted to reach out to people by use of the telephone be sustainable.