http://blog.lefigaro.fr/hightech/pirate.jpgImagine getting a phone call from your credit card company. They are calling you because this is the first time you have ever been late, so they wanted to make sure everything was OK and give you the opportunity to pay over the phone. The person calling sounds nice and he seems to know about your account, but then again they never really tell you that much to begin with so how do you really know it is them?

They confirm they are talking to you by having you provide your address, phone number, social security number and later your account number for payment. But again, how do you really know it is your credit card company calling and not some scam? Outside of them saying the name of the company, they really do not provide you with any information and manage to get you to turn over all of yours.

To ease this fear customers have about privacy and protection, banks and credit card companies have added extra security features to their online access to your account. That covers one point of access very thoroughly, but what about the other points of access? They’re so concerned about verifying that it is really you on the phone, that they forgot they too have to verify to the customer who they are, when they reach out! Now the customers have to spend double the amount of time on the phone to make sure they were not just a victim of identity theft—all because the company was trying to help improve their customer’s experience with the company.

How does your company handle customer privacy? What does your company consider private information and how is this communicated to your customers?

The Ponemon Institute found that having a simple easy to read privacy policy will go far with your customers. As will an easy way for your customers to file complaints and obtain answers to questions that they have.

Is your privacy protection policy purely defensive like the story above? Privacy is important to everyone, but it is up to your company how it is handled. Use common sense when establishing or reviewing your privacy policy and think of your customers first. “Good privacy can be a good business practice,” contends David Kramer, a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, one of Silicon Valley’s top law firms. “If you think about it, it’s really part of good customer service.”