As of 1 July 2021, the final stages of POPIA compliance have been put into effect. This means that businesses in South Africa will be required by law to comply with the requirements set forth by the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).The POPI Act aims to regulate all communications between companies and their customers.
The Act commenced on 1 July 2020, with companies being given a year to ensure full compliance. It primarily applies to the lawful processing of personal information. In other words, how companies gather, manage and use customer information. It also applies to complaints procedures as well as the regulation of marketing and unsolicited emails, SMS and other digital communications.
For businesses, failing to ensure POPIA compliance has extremely serious consequences. These range from fines of up to R10 million and even jail time of up to 10 years. Needless to say, very few businesses will recover from the consequences of non-compliance. In addition to fines and legal consequences, reputation damage can be equally devastating. This is especially true when non-compliance causes a loss of trust.
As every business knows, trust forms the basis of all customer relationships. Without trust, it is impossible to gain customers. It is also all too easy to lose existing customers when trust is lost. This is where POPIA compliance becomes crucial to not only avoid lost trust but also to increase trust. Compliance gives you the opportunity to foster a deeper level of trust, strengthening relationships and reputation in the process.
Keep reading to find out why POPI Act compliance is essential for trust and how you can prepare for POPIA compliance with the help of Grapevine Interactive.
POPI Act Compliance & Customer Relationships
Why is the POPI Act so important? In a nutshell, it provides consumers with peace of mind knowing that their information is not being sold or used in a way that puts their privacy at risk. In today's digital world, the average consumer receives an abundance of messages every day. Every single person with a digital footprint will have to deal with spam. Most spam messages are eventually blacklisted. Almost all spam messages get deleted without being read. Receiving endless unsolicited messages is not only frustrating – but it is also upsetting to those who know that somewhere along the line, their information has been obtained by the sender.
Unsolicited email puts consumers at risk in many ways. It increases the risk of malware being spread when emails are opened. When email addresses and other information are sold or leaked, it also opens up the risk of scams and other cyber attacks. With that in mind, it is vital to show your customers that you take their privacy seriously. Companies who constantly send out unsolicited messages, adding customers to mailing lists without permission, and not meeting basic guidelines will very quickly be avoided. On the other hand, companies that put privacy as a primary concern for customers are far more likely to gain trust.
This means protecting and processing all customer data in a way that prevents leaks. It means gaining express permission to use customer information for marketing campaigns, avoiding lost data, and having a clear consent-driven approach to data management. It also means ensuring complete transparency on how information is used and processed, control over what data is collected and used, the ability to access and edit information, and visible SSL, PCI DSS, ISO certifications where applicable.
It also means having a customer-centric approach based on trust and relationships. When trust is carried through from the very first interaction customers have with your business, the result is a far deeper level of trust throughout your relationship. Customers need to know that you take their data privacy concerns seriously, whether they are completing a lead form to download a free ebook, messaging your company for information, signing up for a newsletter, adding information during a purchase, or completing any other action that requires personal information to be entered.
If you are proactive about your customers' data safety, your customers will know that you are committed to putting their needs above the chance to promote your products or services in an unethical way. This has a direct effect on your conversion and sales because customers are far more likely to do business with companies they trust.
Preparing for POPIA Compliance with Grapevine
Since 2001, Grapevine Interactive has been helping customers improve their digital communications. Our solutions are based on transparency, trust, and relationship-building. We have helped our clients design and implement permission-based data management, with opt-in/opt-out solutions across email and SMS.We work with businesses to map out and integrate permission-based strategies within communication platforms and CRM databases. Working with clients using our digital communications platform for a range of channels, including SMS and email, we offer an all-round CPaaS solution. Our technical expertise and experience enable you to manage your communication preference centre in line with current regulations such as POPIA.
Instead of struggling to manage POPIA compliance manually or using outdated, single-channel platforms that do not have the ability to comprehensively manage data, an integrated solution makes far more sense. You will save a great deal of time and resources, with a single platform that allows you to create permission-based campaigns that are fully compliant. You will also provide customers with the benefit of automated communications that is personalised to meet their needs. Features such as document delivery provide a secure way for customers to receive statements, while automated marketing tools allow you to create various campaigns across multiple channels, using best-in-class practices. Although we hope that POPIA will be a good motivator for businesses to start taking their customers' personal information concerns seriously, it should not take an enforceable act to achieve this goal.
At Grapevine, we believe that trust should always play a vital role in every customer interaction. This is why we have put customers at the centre of every campaign we have run for our clients.
To find out how we can help you achieve this goal, get in touch with the Grapevine team today. We will help you improve your customer relationships through digital communications solutions designed according to POPIA compliance.