Every business collects data about their customers to conduct their day to day business. This data may be as minimal as requesting your zip code when buying a tube of caulk from your local hardware store or as in-depth as completing a loan application at a bank. Some requests are optional while others, such as a loan application, require full disclosure of personal and sensitive information to complete a transaction.
To the business, this data that is provided is a valuable asset. With it, they can see trends to focus their marketing efforts, identify successful products and services, measure process efficiency and determine the customer’s qualifications for the product that is being purchased. In addition, the data can become a commodity that the business can sell to other businesses as an additional source of income.
To the customer, this data is their means to verify identity. It is the data that grants access to services in which they depend. It is the data that potentially could affect their employment status or standing in society. It is their access to the money that pays their bills, fuels their vehicle and purchases food for their family. It is their access to the funds that they have diligently saved for their retirement years.
The level of trust that a customer has in the business that is requesting this data is the same as when children are dropped off at a day care. They are entrusting that the business will handle the data responsibly and do everything that they can to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. They trust that if the data must be transferred to another party that the business will ensure that the recipients are equally responsible and that the transfer will occur in a very secure manner.
It is through this trust that the database professional finds themselves in a customer service role. Once the data is captured into a database we define the accessibility of the data, we provide the data on a printed report and we provide the interface to a third party in which data exchanges occur. All of these address the business’ needs for the data; but it is through our discernment and protection methods that we serve the customer.
When a request comes our way to provide the customer’s credit card number on a report it is our role to question the request and offer an alternative that meets the need of the report while protecting the data that could breach the trust of the customer. When an interface to a third party is requested, we ask the questions to ensure that the data is passed in a protected format and that the third party has protection methods in place. We should never make the assumption that the questions had been previously asked by others.
When the customer’s trust is honored they not only remain customers, they become repeat and loyal customers which is the core interest of customer service.