Communication is key

Whether you were cheering on Frank, the master of deception, theft and forgery in the film Catch Me If You Can; or laughing along with the conartist, Diana, in Identity Thief; the real financial and emotional strain of being the victim of cyber-crime is rarely highlighted in film. But, in the last few years, there has been more research into the impact of fraud on the individual, including a white paper that was published on the ‘emotional toil’ which states:

“…identity theft victims may experience similar emotional effects as victims of violent crimes…” (Equifax, Feb 2015).

Not only will bad data breaches impact your bottom line, but they will place unnecessary psychological and financial stress on your customers too.

What does customer service have to do with it?

In 2017, Ticketmasterwas affected by malicious software on a third-party supplier’s site. Initially, Ticketmaster denied the problem when it was reported to them by digital bank, Monzo, but they investigated again this year and recently confirmed the breach did in fact happen. Whilst the investigation is ongoing, it appears that their customers were not adequately protected, and Ticketmaster failed to inform them when concerns over the breach were first raised. It is too early to say how their customer base will behave following this news, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Ticketmaster see a dip in use over the next year. As Risk UK’s editor, Brian Sims, put it: ‘customers are only a click away from the competition’.

Ecommerce provider, White Room, also attempted to keep a breach quiet. This breach affected a number of UK fashion retailers and trying to hide it only made the company look much worse, in my opinion. Transparency has become a buzzword amongst those aiming to build trust with their client base, and this is especially important for security. If you are honest about issues you’ve experienced, and what steps you’ve taken to fix them, you are likely reassuring your current customers as well as potentially attracting new customers.

Whilst there hasn’t been a lot of research published about the impact of a breach on a company’s reputation, there was a study in 2011 by Ponemon Institute and Experianthat revealed a brand’s value and reputation could see a decline of over 31%! The study also highlighted that, in addition to investigations and working with law enforcement, good customer service may help to minimise the negative impact and good customer service doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, Curry’s, under the umbrella of Dixons Carphone, discovered they had experienced a cyber-attack which may have affected up to 10 million customers. They emailed all customers that they had on record, issued a public statement, and have posted updates on their website to inform the public and past customers to ensure they take necessary action, and to reassure both new and existing customers that they are learning from their mistake.

If a breach isn’t handled correctly, you could delay your customers from taking action to protect their identity, making it much harder for them to rectify any issues. You are also putting your reputation at stake and, with it, the confidence your customers have in you and your business. Whilst this may not have immediate monetary consequences, it could have a long-term impact on the success of your business.

But of course, the aim is not to experience a hack in the first place.

In our next blog in this series we will cover tips on how to reduce the risks of a data breach.

If you require any more information, would like to enquire about website security or Zenplan website maintenance plans, feel free to send me an email at ideas@steveperrycreative.com, call me directly on +44 (0)1782 954282. You can also follow me on Twitter @stevemarkperry for bite-sized updates.