Prepare PR and staff for customer complaints after GDPR


Maybe most consumers will continue to give up personal data without a fuss. But a recent survey by YouGov suggests a fertile breeding ground for complaints, if not outrage after GDPR empowers and educates consumers. So it is worth preparing your PR, social and front-line teams.

The YouGov survey of British consumers points to two drivers of dissatisfaction.

The first is a general distrust of how companies manage personal data. Just 1 in 10 people trust retailers and social media companies to keep their data safe. Banks, health services and local authorities do better, but still only 6 in 10 trust them to keep their data safe.

Furthermore, 74% would blame the company for any data breach, rather than the hacker or perpetrator.

The second driver of discontent is a sense of powerlessness. According to YouGov, “58% believe that they have no choice but to hand over personal data in return for products and services.” 94% of people don’t read the full website terms and conditions or privacy policies, so many may be surprised to discover what data is actually being collected.

These combined feelings of distrust and powerlessness could be explosive in the volatile world in which complaining and voicing

outrage publicly on social media is so common.

So whilst most people will probably ignore their new rights under GDPR, some may not. And their complaints can hurt:

Complaints, particularly when they are visible to other shoppers, can upset and undermine front-line staff who are under-prepared to explain why data is being collected and how it is kept safe.

Visible criticism can undermine trust in the brand. According to YouGov, 85% would boycott a company that repeatedly showed disregard for managing private data.

What to do about this?


  1. Brief front-line staff on how to manage questions on private data, and keep their knowledge refreshed.
  2. Proactively communicate the privacy policies with customers on social media.
  3. Prepare complaint handling for PR and social media teams.
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