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Customer Service, Confidentiality and Security. EASFAA 2009 Allene Begley Curto Springfield College – School of Human Services. The Customer Service Agenda. What is Good Customer Service? What are the rules that we must follow to protect and inform students?

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Customer service confidentiality and security

Customer Service, Confidentiality and Security


Allene Begley Curto

Springfield College – School of Human Services

The customer service agenda
The Customer Service Agenda

  • What is Good Customer Service?

  • What are the rules that we must follow to protect and inform students?

  • What are all the types of communication that we use for customer service?

  • How do we use the rules to improve communication and customer service and not hinder either?

What is good customer service
What is Good Customer Service?

  • Provides accurate and helpful information in a timely manner

  • Minimizes the amount of time that the student must spend to follow up

  • Reinforces the sense of “team” supporting the student

  • Reassures and warns

Confidentiality and security
Confidentiality and Security

  • Who has a right to know what?

  • How do we limit access to those who have a right to know?

  • What policies, procedures and practices will protect our students?

  • Maintaining confidentiality and protecting security of information is essential to good customer service!

What are the rules
What are the Rules?


  • FTC Red Flag Rules

  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley


  • Federal Student Aid Consumer Information

  • Uncommon Sense


Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

  • Protects the privacy of student education records

  • Gives the student the right to inspect records but we do not usually have to make copies

  • Gives the student the right to request a correction or place a statement in the record

  • Requires us to have written permission to release information

What can we release to whom

Without Consent to:

Necessary School Officials

Other schools to which student is transferring


Financial Aid

Judicial order, subpoenas

Health, safety

Directory Information:

Defined by the School



Telephone number

Date and place of birth

Honors and awards

Dates of attendance

What Can We Release to Whom?

Releasing information
Releasing Information

  • Directory Information may be released – we are not required to release unless judicial order or subpoena, federal audit, etc.

  • Student may “opt out” of release of directory information. No release unless one of the required exemptions!

  • Directory information can still compromise student’s security and confidentiality!

Security of financial information
Security of Financial Information

  • The Financial Services Act (Gramm-Leach-Bliley) requires policies for handling and protecting financial data

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires us to have an information security program

Federal trade commission
Federal Trade Commission

  • Information Security

  • Identity Theft Prevention Programs (Red Flag Rules)

    • Must provide for the identification, detection and response to patterns, practices, or specific activities that could indicate identity theft

    • Must be in place by August 1, 2009

    • Required for schools that participate in Perkins or offer institutional loans or payment plans

Privacy of medical records hippa
Privacy of medical records (HIPPA)

  • Medical records are protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA)

  • Medical Records are not usually part of the educational record. FAO does not usually keep medical records but sometimes……..

    • Disability services

    • Loans discharged due to disability

  • Once a medical record becomes part of the educational record, it is covered under FERPA.

What are we required to communicate
What Are We Required to Communicate?

  • Federal Student Aid Consumer Information

    • Missing persons procedures

    • Textbook Information

    • College Costs and Transparency

  • The Clery Act (Campus Crime Reports)

  • Solomon Amendment (Information to the military)

Communication and service while meeting all the rules
Communication and Service While Meeting All The Rules

How do we serve the student and protect their information and communicate effectively with:

  • The Student?

  • The Family?

  • Other Agencies assisting the family?

  • Other Departments at the School?

Is all of our communication
Is All of Our Communication

  • Effective?

  • Timely?

  • Secure?

  • Pleasant?

  • Professional?

Types of communication
Types of Communication

  • E-mails

  • Letters

  • Phone Calls

  • Statements of Account

  • Appointments/Walk-ins

  • Orientations/Info Sessions

  • Publications

  • Web Site

E mail

  • An e-mail is always unsecured! No SSNs, minimal confidential information

  • To whom is it sent? Are they authorized to have that information? Is it the correct person?

  • You are also sending that e-mail to anyone and everyone to whom one of the recipients decides to forward it!

E mail cont
E-mail (cont.)

  • E-mails are easily misunderstood

  • E-mails are easily ignored

  • E-mails are easily forwarded (with or without changes!)

  • E-mails are almost impossible to “take back”!

  • In some states, certain information is illegal to include in an e-mail!


  • Correct Name? Correct Address?

  • Correct spelling and grammar?

  • Tone of the letter?

  • Concise but with full and accurate information?

  • Frequency?

Phone calls
Phone Calls

  • Identify yourself

  • Identify and authenticate the person with whom you are speaking

  • Be prepared to deal with stress

  • Refer or follow up when it can’t be resolved on the phone

  • Know to whom they should be referred!

  • Practice tone/responses

  • Timely Responses

Statements of account
Statements of Account

  • Students are confused by the statements!

  • Become familiar enough with statements to explain or clarify to student

  • Use Info Sessions and Orientations to explain or clarify the statements

  • Know when they are being sent. Expect additional calls and questions!

Appointments walk ins

  • Let students know when they can “walk in” and when they can set an appointment

  • Make sure they are referred to the correct person

  • Be prepared when they have an appointment

  • Contact student with changes

  • Follow up on “no shows”

  • What is discussed at “the counter”? Is it confidential?

Orientation info sessions
Orientation/Info Sessions

  • Fine tune your presentation

  • Prepare for Q&A

  • Have handouts available

  • Is the information accurate and up to date?

  • Always remember we are all ambassadors!


  • Up to date and accurate information

  • No conflicting information in different publications

  • Clear and easily referenced

  • Available to students

Customer service confidentiality and security

  • Customer Service is a TEAM sport!

  • Remember that the student is under stress!

  • Remember that you may also be under stress!

  • Let others (Office mates? Supervisor? Other Departments?) know what you need to be able to respond in the way that you would like

Resources web sites
Resources – Web Sites

  • ED

  • FTC



  • AACRAO on-line FERPA Guide

    EduCause (sample programs for Red Flag)


Resources publications
Resources – Publications


  • Save Your Money, Save Your Identity

  • Balancing Student Privacy and School Safety


  • Protecting Personal Information, A Guide for Business

  • Fighting Fraud With the Red Flags Rule


  • Solomon Amendment Brochure


Allene Begley Curto

Associate Director of Financial Aid

Springfield College – School of Human Services