5 unwritten Rules of Client Confidentiality
I know this goes without saying: I just want it known for the record that everything we discuss at any moment will be treated by me as confidential.
You may not feel comfortable asking me for discretion, I know it is always appreciated.
Unfortunately, in today’s world of social media oversharing, coffee shops used as offices and cell phones that record anything anywhere, confidentiality seems to be backsliding into a state of dangerous decline. Not the case at Harris First, and I want you to know that I follow these clear rules:
1. Know that you are in a position of trust
We’ve all heard of doctor/patient confidentiality and lawyer/client privilege. Doctors and lawyers are sworn to secrecy about their customers’ affairs for good reason. You deserve the same discretion from your agent. When I talk to others about my Clients, I assume that the Client is in the room with me, or will read everything I post or write about them. If what I’m sharing isn’t complimentary and publicly known, then I will keep it to myself.
2. I know that Starbucks isn’t a confession booth
I once hired a consultant who was based in Toronto to do some work on our website.
We scheduled a conversation via Skype about my brand and target market. To my dismay, he logs into the call from a coffee shop. Throughout our conversation, I’m seeing customers come and go in the background. Not only was it distracting, it felt like a violation of my privacy as a Client.
There are good reasons why lawyers and accountants won’t host you in their office. Instead, meetings are held in a private meeting room. One reason is that you shouldn’t see files lying on their desk from other clients. Another is so your meeting will not be seen or overheard by others. For me, coffee shops are just that: casual coffee and not for doing business.
3. There’s a difference between small talk and prying
Ever have this happen to you in a restaurant while you’re paying for the meal? The server is standing by your table waiting for you to input your credit card on the portable device and asks:
“So what are your plans for the rest of the day (evening, weekend, whatever)?” Pardon?!
When did our relationship as patron/ server evolve to the intimacy of me needing to share my weekend plans? The key to making small talk sound natural and appropriate is context and relevance. Unless you’ve been chatting about weekend plans with that person, better to stick to safe topics like the weather as in: “So you’re heading outside… have you heard a forecast?”
4. Yes, your cell phone conversation is annoying
It feels like people who talk at length on cell phones around other people sound like jackasses.
It reflects a total lack of self-awareness and distain for basic civility. It also tells people around them they don’t respect the privacy of the person on the other end of the phone.
They’re damaging their own reputation and are too oblivious to realize it. I am NOT one of them.
5. Strong feelings: I don’t necessitate expressing them
For me, this is perhaps the most important confidentiality lesson at work and in life.
We can’t un-say, un-post, or un-tweet our opinions and observations. No doubt we all can think of numerous examples at work and in the news where a little discretion and self-restraint would have saved significant fallout.
While it’s tempting to be drawn into adding our two cents to a discussion, perhaps the greatest contribution that I can make to the relationship with my Client is to remain silent. We hope in turn that when we say or do something less than brilliant, others won’t share it with the world. Ironically, kindness and maturity are often best reflected – and trust is sometimes most strongly earned – by simply shutting up.
REALTOR OAKWYN REALTY
Call Direct : 778-320-3782
My mission and purpose is to help people see, discover and decide to experience the real estate world as a world of imagination and possibility and healing.
We do this by sharing our stories and the way we work in a manner that is sustainable now and into the future our children will inherit.