As the UK government is working on changing data protection laws, one of the UK’s biggest pub chains has announced they have deleted their entire customer database.
Clearing over 700,000 emails from their database, Wetherspoons have decided to start afresh with their customer database.
While the new GDPR regulations have dictated a big change into the relationship between organisations and their customers, Wetherspoons have explained their decision as being part of an attempt to prevent data breaches, such as the one they faced in 2015. “I think the key to not being hacked is to have as little customer information as you can get away with,” said Tim Martin (J D Wetherspoons Founder and Chairman)
In 2015 the pub chain has been hit by a cyber-attack that resulted in approximatively 656,723 customer names, email addressed, birth dates and telephone numbers being hacked.
Ever since the attack, founder and chairman Tim Martin decided the chain will hold little to no information on its customers, in the future.
“As far as I’m concerned, there’s no need for Wetherspoon to hold customer information in future,” he said, adding the firm will “try and store the absolute minimum amount”, stated Martin back in 2015.
However, regulations such as the controversial GDPR would have seen Wetherspoons, just like all other companies, faced with the task of making their consumer data GDPR compliant, by May 2018. This ‘starting from scratch’ policy will ensure that their new database will not only be compliant with the new law, but it will also cut the link with the database that has been hacked.
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Data clearance or data cleaning
While starting afresh can seem like a good way to avoid data errors and any form of breach of the new law, it might not always be the right decision.
Loosing customer data can sometimes jeopardise the customer relationships and how the organisation will communicate with them in the future. Starting a completely new database will not only require a huge investment of time and resources,
In the case of Wetherspoons, they have opted for the most effective, but also most drastic, option of wiping the slate clean and starting again. While in the short term, their customer engagement through monthly email broadcasts may suffer, It allows them to build from the ground up a solid, compliant, database – cementing their compliance with future data protection laws.
However, this is not necessarily the best option for all businesses. For some, a rigorous cleanse of their database will suffice.
Data cleaning is essentially making data fit for purpose, maximising deliverability, reducing financial wastage and, most importantly here, ensuring moral compliance and compliance to industry legislation.
For example, we can correct address structure, track address movers, remove duplicates and suppress people who have died. In addition to postal address cleaning we offer email address validation, correction and appending. We deliver data cleaning solutions to a wide spectrum of clients, from those that have small bespoke UK customer databases to those with large volume International transactional data.