How to Guard against Customer Data Theft as One Way to Provide Better Service

    By | Small Business

    data theft- pixabayNames, addresses, phone numbers, and even social security numbers. This is just a small list of the customer information employees have access to on a daily basis. On one end, this information is used to provide safety and security for customers and their accounts. On the other, it can be used to commit identity theft and fraud, costing millions in losses. One recent study estimates that 43 percent of businesses suffered a data breech in 2014. In order to provide customers with the safest and most positive experience, of course strong computer systems with solid firewalls are imperative.   But, in addition to this, it is important that your employees understand the responsibilities of their position as privacy guardians. Minimize the likelihood of client data theft by implementing the following procedures.

    Proper training

    One of the easiest ways to minimize the risk of customer data being compromised is through adequate employee training. Employees need to recognize the value of protecting their client’s information. In addition to offering friendly and efficient interactions, your team must understand their role in keeping client data safe and secure. This comes from the careful instruction, implementation, and evaluation of security and privacy policies and practices. Also, collect feedback from employees on the training you already offer. See what employees have to say about their experience with policy and procedural training, and use their advice to enhance your program.

     Controls

    Having internal controls in place creates an environment where the chances of employee impropriety are minimized and customer data is kept secure. Create processes to limit the amount of access employees have to customer data to only what they need to complete their tasks. If the specific customer data required varies between departments, implement systems of control that will ensure each employee only has access to the specific information they need rather than everything the company has on file. Keep sensitive files and check stock secured and monitor the assignment of keys. Observing these business practices will minimize the risk of controllable losses, and you will better protect your customer’s identities, ensuring their continued loyalty and trust.

    Employee Screening

    Before your customer meets an employee, you need to know who you are placing in front of them. Carrying out a comprehensive background check on potential hires is another way to keep your customer’s data secure. The process begins with identity verification and moves through motor vehicle and criminal records as well as education and employment verification. Employee screening also benefits the efficiency of the office since you will more effectively zero in on qualified candidates for the positions you need to fill. This may seem like an obvious step, but it is one that should be taken seriously when building trust within your organization. Many of your associates are on the front lines of customer service; promote safety and security by understanding their various backgrounds. Furthermore, customers appreciate professional service and the customer experience is enhanced when they have a certain level of comfort knowing that the information they share will be in safe hands. Proper employee screening will help to weed out potential hires who won’t operate with the level of professionalism your customers expect and deserve.

    Good customer service includes protecting sensitive data. Your enterprise should be communicating what steps they are taking in order to maintain privacy and identity security. We are each customers ourselves. Don’t we want the same comfort that comes with knowing our information is in the right hands? The proper training, internal controls, and employee screening guards against potential losses and provides clients with optimal service.

    Educate Your Customers

    Checks and balances and controls and screenings are only a part of the equation when keeping your customer information safe.  The other key component is your customers and educating them on their role in keeping their information safe.  This includes making sure they know to only share Tax ID Numbers and account numbers on a ‘need to know’ basis. It also means NEVER sharing Personal Identification Numbers or passwords.  This includes not writing them down in conspicuous places, making them strong with a combination of upper-case and lower case letters plus numbers, and changing them every few months.  Customers need to understand what circumstances call for sharing their information, who would ask for it, and why.  Helping customers understand phishing attempts on-line or via phone is important. Encouraging customers to check their credit report at least annually is a good safeguard to ensure no one is using the customer’s identity.  Take the time to educate your customers by providing printed information on these and other precautions.  It will go a long way towards keeping the customer safe.

    This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: How to Guard against Customer Data Theft as One Way to Provide Better Service

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