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Don’t ignore the basic good practices

My wife and I have spent the past few days traveling US 95. One night we stopped in a small town in South Carolina to spend the night at a national chain’s motel. With the expected southern hospitality, I received a wonderfully friendly reception from the person manning the motel’s desk.

The conversation was fairly wide ranging and before I knew it there was a lot of personal information verbally exchanged between us. The desk clerk knew the area where I lived, commented on some landmarks and noted their perception of the affluence of the area relative to the town we were now in. Signing the paperwork, I was given my room assignment and key and told to “have a nice day”.

My paperwork remained on the counter.

I hadn’t noticed that another traveler had entered the lobby, but the clerk turned to them and began the room assignment process.How much about me had that new customer heard? Worse yet…

My paperwork remained on the counter.

I pulled the paperwork from in front of the new customer, an action that apparently upset the clerk. “Why are you taking that?”  Trying to keep a smile on my face, I explained how much information about me was on the check-in sheet and that I preferred that it please be protected. They took the paperwork behind the desk, but I am waiting to see it posted on Facebook.

It is difficult in any business that has a distributed workforce, especially in a franchise model, to ensure compliance with corporate practices and policies including those related to privacy. Two simple steps are (1) to establish an effective privacy awareness program  and then (2) incorporating compliance verification into a mystery shopper or similar program. This approach  will provide communications about the policies and process with actionable feedback to the management in those remote locations.