Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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RIP, Privacy? Not Where Customer Data is Concerned

April 13, 2015

Some folks say privacy is dead. Fere are five ways to avoid that with your critical customer data.

Take a close look at your spam folder. What’s in there, and why don’t you want to see it? How did those email spammers get your address?

Now, think about your contacts, leads and customers. Each of them is concerned about personal information privacy at least as much as you are. Safeguarding information about your prospects and customers is an important obligation. In fact, failing to take care of this essential obligation can destroy your business. You’ve seen the headlines.

Don’t think it can’t happen to you. Ask these questions to see how you’re doing:

  • What is your privacy policy? – Do you have one? You should. Do you share or sell contact information about your prospects and customers? If not, make that clear to everyone. People won’t look for a privacy policy on your website. So tell visitors that their information is confidential wherever you ask for contact details. You’ll inspire confidence and get additional leads. If you do share or sell information, reconsider. Why let others profit from your contacts?
  • Is your customer data secure? – With all of the malware and hacking reported in the news, even the smallest businesses need to focus on data security. You may not store as much customer data as Target, but if that data is compromised, your losses could be huge. Check your firewalls, anti-virus and anti-malware software for effectiveness and update regularly. If you store customer data in the cloud, make sure it’s protected by strong encryption.
  • How secure is your social media? – Examine how Facebook, Twitter, and other social media venues handle sharing, likes, and other contacts. Opt out of as many ways your social media contacts are shared as possible. Be careful with your own choices of apps, games, likes and associations on social media. All too often, they grab all of your contacts’ information as soon as you tie yourself to them. Don’t share your valuable contacts accidentally.
  • How careful are you with email? – Pay special attention to replies and email forwarding. If you Reply All, for example, you could be forwarding a list of customer addresses to the recipient. Never send email replies without checking the entire list of addressees. When forwarding emails, you could be sending a long list of email addresses at the same time. Use group email lists carefully, too. Protect your investment in lead-building carefully.
  • Are you using CRM solutions wisely? – If you’re using a state-of-the-art CRM solution, you’ll be able to keep all of your contact details and a wide variety of related social information in one password-protected profile. If you update them regularly, CRM profiles can be a treasure trove of selling ideas.

 With Customer Privacy, Follow the Golden Rule

You work hard to build leads, acquire customers and create contacts. If you treat their personal information as carefully as you’d like your own information treated, you’ll stay on the right track. Privacy and security for that data is crucial for your long-term success.

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