personal_info

By Ron DrzewuckiModern Coin Wholesale …..
 

Two weeks ago I wrote about where to find a good value, and a big part of that was about nurturing a good relationship between dealer and collectors. If a dealer wasn’t willing to go the extra mile to help you, I suggested, then you should find one that is.

Doing your utmost and genuinely trying to help your customer seems like common sense and basic customer service to me, but you’d be surprised.

Recent events in the coin industry reminded me of this all over again, and while I was originally going to write about the last 25 years of numismatic products from the Royal Canadian Mint, I thought I’d put that aside for next week and talk about one very specific aspect of good customer service: respecting your customer’s information and privacy.

In this day and age and with so much business conducted online, identity theft is a major concern (or should be) of practically everybody. I know we all thought the late 1990s were the “Wild West” of the Internet, but as far as the regulation of personal data and legal recourse when it is abused or stolen, it’s still the Frontier Days (I’m imagining Jimmy Stewart in How the West Was Won (1962) sitting at a laptop in an internet cafe in Amsterdam; no particular reason, just a fun image).

The law may or may not be catching up with technology, but there are certainly those companies who are perfectly content with the status quo and will do anything in their power to stymie better consumer choice and stronger consumer protections.

Nothing is both sadder and funnier than a corporation that cries “let the free market regulate itself” and then abandons all dignity and pretense at integrity as it exploits those same regulations to prevent free market competition.

But I digress.

Right now the law is vague enough–or precedent is unestablished–that many companies seem to take an attitude of “let’s-see-what-we-can-get-away-with” first, and only after costly litigation do they concede any rights to the people whose information has been culled. The bigger the company, the more likely the attitude. No surprise there.

And sure, there are plenty of good guys out there. Just like people, if the majority of businesses weren’t good or at least behaved ethically, then the whole system would fall down around itself.

But my point here is that having an information and privacy policy that respects the information and privacy of your customers is an important aspect of good customer service. Which, of course, is an essential part of developing a good collector/dealer relationship.

Modern Coin Wholesale respects your information and your privacy. We keep your information private and only share information with affiliates when doing so is necessary to fulfill your transaction. We won’t sell your information to anybody else.

We won’t treat you, your personal data or financial information like it’s a business asset.

That’s a far cry from some other coin businesses out there.

Some coin “dealerships” and other parts of the industry run a nice little side business selling accumulated data on their customer base. What’s worse, when these companies are bought by even bigger companies, that data–YOUR data, data you never shared and had no reason to share with the second company–is now the property of said second company.

I’ve even heard of one company, plainly NOT a dealership, leasing out its customer list to whomever was interested and could afford it, and then one of those companies was bought by another company in a slightly different market and now THAT company owns the list originally leased–not even assembled over time–by a business that wasn’t even a dealership.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Ask me again after you keep getting called in the middle of dinner by someone trying to sell you the latest and greatest colorized 5 oz. silver bullion coin featuring the royal family on jet skis.

Repeatedly.

The coin may have been changed to protect the innocent but the scenario is frustratingly real.

So in this day and age on the regulatory frontier, there’s just no replacing good old-fashioned customer service. Look for a dealer who’s interested in helping you build your collection, yes, but then make sure they have privacy and information use policies in place that you can abide by.

Who owns your information? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you do.

-Ron
 

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