Protecting Your Customers’ Private Information

Video-Images-INS101-CyberLiabilityIt was early on a Sunday morning when I received an e-mail from my credit card company alerting me to a potentially fraudulent charge.  Apparently, someone in Texas was using my card number to purchase home remodeling materials.  As I learned is usually the case, the thief charged one dollar to make sure the purchase goes through, and once it did, it’s became a spending spree free-for-all of epic proportions.

This got me thinking about how we as a business protect our customers’ private information. What steps do we take to ensure our customer’s online safety?  Do we make sure we’re not volunteering information over the phone?  It’s so important that we can identify who we’re speaking to on the phone. Even though we’re almost certain it’s the actual customer, it’s possible we’re being duped.

Here are some tips any customer service professional can follow to help protect their customers’ private information1:

  • Find out what types of customer information your business collects and how it’s being used.
  • Create a privacy policy with procedures to support it.
  • Train employees and educate your customers on your policy.
  • Ask permission from the customer. Allow them the option of prohibiting the collection and distribution of their personal information.
  • Enforce your policies. Teach your staff how to explain policies to the customer when requests cannot be completed.

I was one of the fortunate ones who could be notified before major damage was done to my credit, but many others aren’t so lucky.  From credit cards to social security numbers and even mailing addresses, we must be diligent in making sure the customers’ information is protected. To learn more about cyber security and protecting customers’ personal data, watch our video above. You can also see our blog posts Combating the Devastation of a Data Breach  and Don’t Deny the Threat of Denial of Service Attacks.

What policies does your company have in place for handling customers’ personal data?

1Estep, Meredith. Customer Privacy: How to Protect It. Unitiv.com. July 7, 2010.

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