Is Your Salon GDPR Compliant? How to Keep Your Clients Data Safe

Hair and beauty salons have experienced a boom in the last decade in a way they have never seen before. In 2018, almost 500 new beauty salons opened their doors, and this trend shows no signs of slowing, even in the wake of COVID-19.

This means that more and more people are moving into the industry and setting up brand new businesses to capitalise on the growing market that is available to them.

Those who are branching into the salon business for the first time will have plenty of things to consider. Not only will you need premises, products, and a workforce, but you will also need a raft of clients to keep your till ringing.

Whilst a new salon owner might think that the main education they need is in offering safe and effective treatments, they might be surprised to learn that there are many sides of the admin elements of a business that they need to get to grips with too, and none is bigger than the issue of GDPR.

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and it applies to all the personal data that you hold about your clients. Due to the detail needed on a client record card, this will not only include their name and address, but also details about their health allergies and medication. As a business owner, you will be responsible for ensuring that all of your employees understand what their responsibilities are in relation to GDPR and that they are compliant at all times.

You will also need hold personal details about your staff, including their contact details, salary, next of kin, contracts, medical information and their qualifications. This also falls under the GDPR regulations, and you will need to think just as carefully about how you store and use this data.

If you are setting up a new salon, then start off by carrying out an information audit. Make sure you know what information you will hold and whether it will be recorded on paper or electronically.

It is vital that you consider where you get the contact information from and whether permission has been given to use it. You will also need to think about who has access to this information, how they gain access to it and that they are aware how it can and cannot be used.

If you are buying an existing business, you will need to check whether the salon can pass on the client details, and audit the information that they have on file already to make sure it is compliant.

What measures do you need to take for your salon?

The first thing you need to consider is how to collect the data for your salon. If you use some form of salon software, you need to look at what data it records and how it is used.

Salon Chair

That means not only do you need to think about storing those details, but how you use them for marketing and appointment reminders.

Most reputable software providers will have a ood understanding of this and should have plenty of permission options within them.

They should also be able to give you clear advice about how the system works, what you should be doing and update their systems when needed.

A client can request to see the data that you hold about them. There should not be a charge for this, and it must be provided within a month of the request. They have the right to correct anything that needs it or even to delete it unless there is a good reason for you not to.

This may be because your insurers require you to hold certain information for a period of time in case a claim is made against you in the future.

If you use text or email to contact your clients, then there are some very strict rules that you need to comply with. This includes the existing Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) and the Telephone Preference Service.

Before you can send marketing messages, appointment reminders, newsletters or even a Christmas card, you must ensure that the client has explicitly opted in to receive this information.

You will also need to provide a publicly available privacy notice which clearly informs clients what date you collect, why you need it and how you use it. This will need to outline who the data is shared with, when and why it will be deleted and what it will not be used for. This could be located in your salon or on your website.

Data breaches

We have all heard about big companies suffering from data breaches, but this can happen to any business. A data breach occurs when any of the personal data you hold is lost, shared, or altered without permission, either accidentally or on purpose.

If this happens, you need to record what has happened and contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) immediately. Some data breaches may seem very minor and unimportant but any failure to inform the ICO could result in significant fines.

GDPR Penalties

Penalties for data breaches or failure to comply with GDPR laws can lead to a fine for your business. The EU GDPR sets a maximum fine of £18 million for any infringements, which shows how seriously you need to take this subject.

Not all violations will lead to fines though, as the ICO can also offer warnings, bans on data processing, ordering the restriction or deletion of data or suspending data transfers to third countries. GDPR is not one of the most exciting aspects of running a salon, but it is essential. It helps to keep your clients and employees safe and ensures their privacy.

Failure to comply with the rules can lead to hefty fines which could cost you your business, so you need to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of what GDPR is and how it affects your business.

Do you need help with personal documents?

If you feel your salon or beauty clinic could benefit from help and advice from an off-site storage facility, we can help! Save time and money in your salon with our range of document management services.

Feel free to get in touch with our team. We can explain in more details the service and benefits you would receive as well as the different types of documents you can store in our security facility.

Looking for something else? We can also provide other document management services including, document scanning and document shredding.