Modern commerce involves personal information. Customer transactions with your company are no longer centered on a simple exchange of money for goods and services. These interactions have evolved to include a client’s personal information, such as their name, address, credit card number and potentially even their spending habits. Storing and using this information is what helps your business remain relevant in today’s marketplace and technology-savvy consumers know this. It is this re-invented relationship with your customer that makes it important for your business (small or large) to have a corporate policy structured and focused on safeguarding that personal information.
In Canada, private companies are required to comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) which regulates how you may collect, use, store and disclose the personal information you gather as you conduct your business. Some provinces and industry sectors are subject to even further regulations.
Don’t get me wrong; it is perfectly legal for your business to collect personal information. In fact, opening a client file and storing this data may help you provide better customer service. You just need to remember you have an obligation to ensure you are using, storing and disclosing this personal information in a responsible manner. At the end of the day, the more you actively protect your customer’s information, the greater the trust and potential loyalty they will have for your company. It’s not just legally savvy – it’s business savvy!