It seems consumers are growing more and more weary of the increase in telemarketing calls these days. If I hear one more call from any hotel or cruise company saying that I've won anything that I didn't enter in, I think I might scream. Apple has recently remedied this with a block from unknown callers or solicitors. It helps, I must say, but there are limitations. The company call you answered 6 months ago from someone asking if you'd like to buy insurance is now stored as a number you likely know, and those calls can come through. But for many of us entrepreneurs, we need to be able to take calls from anyone - our next project or sale could come from a number we've never spoken to. Catch 22 situation, eh?
This January, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect. This law gives California consumers the power to choose how companies use their data. They can now demand that companies disclose the information they've collected from them and request a copy of it. Companies must delete a consumer's data and may not sell that information, providing the customer selects the "do not sell" link on the company's site. Further, those companies cannot treat a consumer differently because they request the data. Admittedly, I search a few big sites and did not see the "do not sell" button or anything like it available. No surprise here as companies have been struggling to comply with the law and meet the deadline of July 1, 2020 (date of enforcement).
So what companies are subject to this new law? It won't be any of us small business owners! It only affects businesses with an annual gross revenue of $25m, get 50% or more of their annual revenue from selling consumers' personal information, or buy, sell, receive or share personal information for more than 50,000 consumers, households or devices for commercial purposes. That basically means companies like Amazon, Walmart (currently struggling with the legal loop holes of this law), Verizon and even Facebook will have to comply. I'm sure these companies have their lawyers working overtime to get within compliance, with as little cost as possible.
What does this mean for the small business owner? As a California business owner, you have rights to ensure your company's data isn't misused or sold to other companies. Business owners in other states should not worry, there are already other states drafting their versions of the CCPA right now. As our data is one of our most prized possessions today, its important that companies and our government act on protecting consumers from phishing calls, emails and piracy. Its also the job of the small business owner to ensure that our clients' information is secure and we foster a relationship of trust with those that chose to work with our companies. Those clients not only make up our company contact lists, they are our fellow citizens, as well.
Ultimately, the consumer wins. But, we are all consumers of some of the largest companies on the planet. We use Microsoft products, AWS, Instagram, and so many other companies to further the small business mission. So, we win! Let's help our customers win by putting stricter practices in place to protect their credit card information, email, address and sales history. Consider a CRM system that is password protected and has strict permissions for your team members. The PaxRat Concierge has developed our own and we do sell it to clients and other businesses. Its our way to keep up with projects, quotes, track our progress, have smart reporting and protect all involved in our sales process. That way, we all win!
The Concierge Brandi Surratt
With nearly 10 years of experience in outsourcing management, Brandi has a proven track record with client success in HR functions, diversity, compliance and business operations. Her experience with Fortune 100 clients and beyond has helped her develop skills valuable to clients/companies of any size. She has now taken her skills to the small business market to help small businesses thrive with fewer resources.