The Importance of Security & Privacy in Conversational Marketing

The Importance of Security & Privacy in Conversational Marketing

Highly regulated fields, from legal services to healthcare providers, must ensure that they communicate in compliant ways that maximize security and privacy. But these classically regulated industries aren’t the only ones that need to worry about privacy, security, and ethics in a world rapidly adopting artificial intelligence and chatbots.

Chances are that you have implemented best practices over email and phone call security, ensuring that you remain HIPAA compliant as well as compliant with any other relevant legislation.

However, as conversational marketing becomes an increasingly relevant and lucrative strategy, what do you need to know in order to be able to maintain compliance?

Remember: conversational marketing is a combination strategy: it involves both AI scripts that help chatbots to respond authentically to basic questions from your customers, but it also involves real-time conversations between your customers and your human team, usually with a seamless transition between the two involving an easy calendar scheduling request.

Because these chatbots can gather information, and the human beings involved also use the same chat program to exchange communication, it stands to reason that customers will want to know how your company processes and uses the data you receive during your conversational marketing chats.

Ensuring Healthcare Security During Human-to-Human Conversations

Even if you aren’t dealing with AI, and are instead using a conversational marketing platform to conduct a human-to-human conversation, healthcare providers and other industry workers will run into the need for strict encryption and data management rules.

If you are already working to ensure HIPAA compliance in some areas of your company’s communication, it may be necessary to refer a person in a chat conversation to a secured path, such as your HIPAA compliant healthcare portal.

Make sure that you disclose to your customers and potential leads that there are certain pieces of information that need to be protected and must be communicated through secure channels. As chatbots progress, it will become more and more possible to use the chatbot’s script and decision tree to guide healthcare customers toward the correct avenues for sharing their information in fully compliant ways that get them the fastest answers possible.

GDPR and Data Management for Conversational Marketing

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that hit the EU last year are still influential topics in the world of data privacy and management. Even if you are a US-based company, if you have people interacting with your conversational marketing programs from the European Union, you’ll want to make sure you are in compliance.

For instance, you need to know exactly which kinds of information people provide through your conversational marketing platform, and your privacy policy should transparently lay out exactly what you’ll do with that information.

Other helpful features to understand include how to encrypt and isolate information to make it harder to access if someone breaches your security, as well as creating a script for your bot that will allow customers and leads to ask the chatbot to “forget” your information.

One worry that marketers have about these kinds of requirements is that they will “gum up the works” by giving lots of legal jargon and privacy disclosures, making the conversation feel one-sided or in some other way frightening off customers.

However, long-term, it is likely to be a badge of honor if your chatbots are clearly offering privacy policies and data use information throughout the process of a conversation. Ideally, all companies will be clear and transparent about the data they collect and why, which will make it simply the norm for people to understand how you use data to make their customer experience better.

Luckily, software like Drift makes it easy to generate automated consent forms to get permission to retain a gathered email address or another piece of information. 

Deceptive Bot Choices and Conversational Marketing

An area where GDPR may come into play, as well as proposed legislation in the United States (the Bot Disclosure and Accountability Act), is in the seamless use of conversational marketing where it appears that a live human is answering when really a chatbot script is providing information. GDPR discusses the right to have “data processed” by a human rather than a computer, but some chatbots, through having human names or picture icons, make it hard to know when the bot is a human or not.

One of the best ways to handle this potential situation is to let your Bot have its own persona with a non-human name and non-human pictures; you can still create a warm and pleasant script for the bot, but make it as clear as possible when a customer is communicating with a bot and when they are communicating with a human being.

Bots aren’t a bad thing, or something to be hidden; they provide valuable 24/7 answers to basic questions and help people schedule to meet with the human being they most need to speak with. In many compliance contexts, it is valuable to distinguish between your bot’s automatic processing and responses that come from a live person.

Takeaway: Invest in Secure Products Now, But Plan for AI Advances in the Future

While your choices of conversational marketing tools should be based on current information and legislation, it is true that the abilities of AI and machine learning tools are growing every day, exponentially. The future of AI legislation is unclear because legislators aren’t quite sure just how machine learning will eventually help companies to predict and take advantage of data that is available to them.

For now, the important factors are to ensure that your current products meet all security standards and to stay abreast of new legislation that is introduced into Congress or in other countries that could impact your data choices. If you haven’t already, discuss how you want to reference your conversational marketing efforts in your company’s privacy policy, and if you don’t have a privacy policy, today is the day to get started.

Customers want to feel secure in the knowledge that their data is being used ethically, and transparency is one of the keys to creating that trust. The other key is choosing high-quality, secure products, and we at ClosedWon can be part of your strategy for choosing a great chat platform that meets your compliance needs. Want to learn more? Chat with us now.

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