Tracking content preferences in Dynamics 365 / CRM to help with GDPR compliance

We've previously shared an example of how to manage double opt-in consent processes using Microsoft Dynamics 365 / CRM with ClickDimensions to help demonstrate compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

For organisations, that send marketing communications across a range of topics it will also be important to track which of these different types of content an individual wants to receive, and when this consent was given - or revoked.

ClickDimensions offers a subscription management feature, which is being adapted to fit the demands of GDPR, but there are often situations where content preferences aren't updated by customers online.  

In this post, we've outlined an alternative approach that can be used. This enables organisations to track and manage these preference changes when they are posted via ClickDimensions forms, or communicated verbally.

The first step is to define which areas of interest you want to track preferences for.

These options will greatly vary from one business to another. Some examples could include broad categories such as: events, news and technical bulletins.

In other instances, these preferences might be more narrowly defined. Using the example of a training provider, content preferences might reflect the type of courses that a contact might be interested in e.g. management training, HR training, sales courses...

Once these interest areas have been identified, they'll need to be added as individual fields on the Dynamics 365 / CRM contact form.

We would configure these as Yes / No fields for each preference item and these will automatically be set to 'No' when a new record is created.

To use these fileds with the ClickDimensions solution, the next step will be to enable them as Active Form Fields before creating a new ClickDimensions form that'll enable contacts to update their preferences online.

In an earlier post, we shared an example of how ClickDimensions forms publish field data and write changes back to Dynamics.

As this process must be handled within the context of GDPR, we need to make sure that all the changes to these content preference fields are tracked and clearly visible.

This can be done by creating a new custom activity type called 'GDPR Activity' that is added to the contact record when a person opts in to a content area, or when they are no longer interested in this topic. To automate this process, a Dynamics workflow will be set-up and triggered to create a GDPR Activity when one of these fields is updated.

Tracking Verbal Instructions

As well as being updated online by ClickDimensions forms, content preferences might also be communicated verbally. In these cases the appropriate fields will be updated by Dynamics users so these updates will also need to be picked up as a GDPR Activity and tagged accordingly. 

To achieve this, a series of workflows will be configured to monitor changes across each content preference field. A workflow is triggered when the associated field is updated, either by a ClickDimensions form, or manually by an end user.

Once triggered, the workflow rule automatically creates a GDPR Activity on the contact record to reflect these changes.

An example is shown below where opt-in preference instructions have been written back to a contact record covering two content areas of interest. 

The detail in this sub-grid shows that one activity entry resulted from a ClickDimensions form being posted and another activity entry was created when a 'residential property' content preference field was manually updated following a verbal notification.

If the contact subsequently revokes their opt-in for any of these areas of interest, further GDPR Activities will automatically be created with the opt-in preference set to 'No'. As a result, there is a clear timeline showing when, and how, individual contacts updated these preferences.

Enabling Portal Users to Manage Content Preferences

Another approach could involve a scenario where customers update their content preferences through a Dynamics 365 web portal. 

The appropriate fields would be published through the portal and any changes to these will immediately be written back to contact record with the entry added to the standard audit history. This action could also be picked up by a workflow as described above whereby a GDPR Activity record will also be logged automatically to record the field change and source.

What Next?

From a GDPR standpoint, using ClickDimensions forms, or a Dynamics web portal, allows contacts to easily manage their content preferences and control the type of content they receive from an organisation.

This helps marketing teams better segment and understand their audience to personalise messages with relevant content. As well as increasing engagement this will avoid situations occurring where customers are repeatedly sent emails about topics they've previously opted out from.

Through the workflows we've described above, there is clarity about every opt-in / opt-out event across each area of interest with a timeline of these actions clearly shown. As a result, there is transparency enabling organisations to easily report on this detail, perhaps in response to a subject access request.

This is just one example to illustrate how Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be adapted to help organisations demonstrate compliance with GDPR. Please contact us to learn more and discuss how we can help you meet your GDPR compliance requirement.