Data presents several positive benefits for customers and businesses—enabling great insights for companies to better serve their customers. However, as the amount of data grows daily, several businesses are now acknowledging that there is a high likelihood they will experience a data breach incident that would impact the customer experience.
This acknowledged risk would indicate that these organizations are all taking steps to manage the potential damage following an attack. Yet according to a recent study from the Ponemon Institute, despite understanding the consequences of a breach, many companies struggle to take the right steps to mitigate the fallout following an incident. Not properly handling a breach can have significant costs for companies. The good news is that there are several things a company can do to manage the fallout after a breach to mitigate customer concerns and ultimately combat the loss of customers.
Titled, “Is Your Company Ready for a Big Data Breach?”, the Ponemon study found that failing to have a data breach preparedness plan in place causes real costs for companies, including loss of business and customer trust. In fact, more than 75 percent of respondents indicated that their organization already had or expects to have a material data breach resulting in the loss of customers and business partners.
There are a few chief concerns among consumers that most frequently arise when they are the victim of a breach. Top questions include:
- What happened to my data?
- Am I at risk for fraud?
- Will it happen again?
To look at mitigating these top concerns, companies must act quickly, with the understanding that customers who are negatively affected during a breach are potentially lost customers. By not being prepared, organizations may face serious consequences including fines, legal actions and damage to brand equity.
Ultimately, it’s about thinking through the customer experience—from crafting the notification letter, selecting a call center and providing an identity theft product. In essence, you must treat impacted parties in a way that you would want to be treated yourself. Customers want to be informed with the knowledge of how an incident will impact them and what steps they need to make. For customers concerned about the potential for fraud, it is important to have the right tools available to help them understand what they need to do—whether that is cancelling a medical card or activating credit monitoring.
A data breach incident isn’t always marked by the incident itself, but rather how a company manages the fallout. Being prepared and putting the right channels in place to manage customer concerns can go a long way in retaining customer confidence, which may save a company money and damage to its reputation.