That the customer should be king is slightly dusty wisdom. Nowadays, it might be more the case that customers don’t want to be treated as sovereigns, but as enlightened counterparts. They know their rights, so correctness is required. It must be clear in all customer approaches that the legal standards are being adhered to.
If you want to send advertising by phone or email, you need the consent of the addressee in Germany since 2009. This procedure is called opt-in.
If, on the other hand, you send traditional mail on paper, consent is not required. However, the addressee must have the opportunity to object. According to the German Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG), customers have the right to demand detailed information from companies about the type and source of the data collected about them, to complain about the use of this data and to demand that it be deleted. There are tight deadlines and formal requirements for this. This procedure is called opt-out.
From individual customers to the social debate in the media and politics, sensitivity to data protection is increasing. For entrepreneurs, this means, among other things, being particularly careful with data protection declarations. These documents regulate how you may use your customers’ data:
1. what data is used?
2. for what purpose will the data be used?
3. to whom will the data be transferred to?
4. through which channels is it possible to address the customer?
Data protection declarations are contractual in nature and must be carefully filed. Before each promotional communication, it must be checked whether the required declaration of the customer is available.
Right of objection
Customers may object to the use of their data for advertising and market research without stating reasons (according to §28 of the German Federal Data Protection Act). Reference to the right of objection must be included in all customer communications.
This list is a consumer protection device to curb unwanted advertising. It is good practice not to write to customers who have registered on the Robinson list (robinsonliste.de).
This post is also available in DE.