The Sound of Silence: Why Client Confidentiality is About More Than Keeping Quiet

Irrelevant of what business you’re in, confidentiality is crucial. Sometimes, this is nothing more than a matter of courtesy. A retailer, for instance, would fail to foster customer confidence if they announced every compromising item their customers bought.

Other times, this is even a legal issue. Law firms have a responsibility to keep client interactions under wraps. Doctors are restricted under the Hippocratic Oath. Breaches in fields like these result in both a lack of faith and legal action.

So, keeping things quiet is crucial for building trust and making a name for yourself. But, you already know that, right? You wouldn’t dream of gossiping about customers. The trouble is, you may still be breaking boundaries.

There are more ways to breach confidence than just coming right out and saying something. You may think you’re the most discreet person out there, but you could still let your customers down in significant ways. To make sure that doesn’t happen, we’re going to look at how you can avoid the two main confidentiality faux pas.

Your computer is saying it for you

We store everything on our computers now. On the face of things, you may think this is good for keeping things quiet. It certainly seems more reliable than a filing cabinet in an open office. But, computer confidentiality faces issues of its own. The simple fact is, if hackers gain access to your computers, they gain access to your files. Thus, you can breach confidentiality without saying a thing. Note, too, that you do hold legal responsibility here. So, make sure you’re protecting your files. Doing this is often as easy as installing anti-virus software and putting passwords in place. In fields where confidentiality is especially crucial, you could also use the help of an outside company. By turning to an IT consulting and strategy company, lawyers, doctors and the like can all put firm security solutions in place. This is like putting a security guard next to your most valuable items. It's a small step which could save you a lot of bother down the line.

Your walls are paper thin

Another common mistake here is to hold meetings in a room where the whole office can hear you. In our open-plan culture, it isn’t unusual for glass walls and open partitions to be the only things between offices. That’s terrible news for confidentiality for apparent reasons. Don’t make the mistake, either, of assuming that it doesn’t matter if other people in your office hear. But, confidentiality doesn’t work like that. If your social media manager gets wind of essential client interactions, your head will still land on the chopping block in a legal sense. Even if your team is 100% trustworthy, a client may feel instantly shaken if your setup is a little too open. Instead, then, make sure that you meet with clients in secure and soundproofed rooms. That way, you remove any room for error and ensure clients feel at ease to tell you valuable information.