Valuable resource: how to protect the customer base from rat employees
Unfortunately, the practice of moving the base is quite common. Entrepreneurs are faced with such a problem all the time, and this has led to the following stereotypes being strengthened in the minds of business:
The customer base is not such a valuable resource, it can be re-assembled. Why is this not so: any owner who counts money in his business knows that it is much cheaper to sell something to an existing client than to attract a new one and sell it to him already;
Nothing can be done with a customer base leak. Why this is not so: there are a number of measures that you can take to protect yourself and your business. They will be discussed below.
When hiring a sales manager, be sure to check the employee. You can ask him directly if he will come with his base. If so, then the probability is 100% that he will also withdraw the customer base from your company. You can also check with the previous leader of the candidate the reasons for his dismissal and whether a person has been noticed in theft.
Another way is to resort to the services of polygraph examiners. However, you need to keep in mind that the polygraph test procedure is voluntary; you cannot force a person to go through it. However, if a candidate refuses, this may be indicative of you as an employer.
When organizing a workflow
When an employee has already left and started working with clients, it is necessary to organize the database in such a way that it is not available to all managers at once. The easiest way is to configure the CRM system so that each manager sees only his clients. It is also important to remove the ability to unload the entire database in the form of an excel file or any other table.
You can also carry out additional customer rotation between managers. This is done so that the manager does not work long with the same people. It is important that the employee does not have time to build such relationships with customers, so that, moving to a new place of work, he could lure them with him.
Another very effective way is to divide the functions of working with clients between different sales managers – for example, some (active and stress-resistant managers) work with cold clients, others go to negotiations and enter into transactions, still others are already in the process of concluding contracts . Thus, by focusing them on one action, you guarantee that they will not be able to do all these actions at a new place of work, and the base will simply not be useful to them.
Just as a technical measure, you can use a system to control the leak of confidential information. They are installed on a computer and track whether the manager wants to leave the company – for example, whether he visits job sites, sends out resumes or accepts job offers. Also, these systems can control the sending of the customer base to home addresses, or the addresses of competitors. And in the event that the system has detected such a dispatch, inform the owner or administrator in order to stop such a leak.
You can also introduce the practice of polygraph testing. If managers will know that any of them once a quarter or half a year, they can call for voluntary verification and the fact of theft will be detected, attempts to steal information will be much less. Moreover, it is not necessary to check all employees, it is enough to do it selectively, the main thing is that employees should know about it.
Legal protection and trade secrets
From a legal point of view, it is necessary to introduce a trade secret regime, and to do this correctly (Law No. 98 of July 29, 2004 on Commercial Secret). There are a large number of court cases in which the owners managed to defend their interests in court. It is important that in case of violation of the trade secret regime and evidence of this fact in court, a person who violated the regime receives a conditional criminal record, which can be a big stain on the employee’s reputation.
For the correct implementation of the trade secret regime, you must enter a list of information that relates to it (including the data that relates to customers). It is also necessary to put in place a provision on work with commercial secrets, which will describe all the actions of employees that they can carry out with information that relates to commercial secrets. Be sure to mark with a signature stamp “Commercial Secret” all its carriers. When it comes to the customer base, it needs to be done, even if it is in the cloud CRM. All employees must also sign a familiarization sheet with the regulations and sign a non-disclosure agreement, which will set the deadlines for maintaining trade secrets (including the time after dismissal).