When we talk about cyberattacks, we talk about how they would affect businesses and how they are going to cope after the attacks. How did the company find out about the attack? What did they do after discovering it? How much did they have to spend on recovering the data after the attack? Sure, all these aspects are important, but what about the impact of the data breach on the customers? This is the worst thing about data breaches—the effect on customer trust and their perception of the company.
With all the cyberattacks that regularly happen, it’s no wonder that consumers are desensitized to them. They are so desensitized that they don’t even share information with companies anymore. They don’t sign up as members, and they don’t trust the companies with sensitive information such as their personal and financial details. When was the last time you “saved” your credit card information on an e-commerce’s system?
What to Do to Strengthen Your Company’s Cybersecurity
First, you need to invest in your company’s infrastructure. Call a penetration testing company to determine the vulnerabilities and gaps in your system. This will provide the information you need to upgrade the system. Make sure to market this little tidbit to your audience. They should know you’re doing all you can to secure the information they share with you. This detail will make them trust the organization more.
What Do Consumers Think About a Brand After a Breach?
If you experience a breach, can you still expect your consumers to shop with you? Take a look at the results of this survey, wherein consumers were asked whether they will support a business again after it has fallen victim to a cyberattack. The results showed that 42% of the 1,000 respondents would still go to a retail store while 20% will check-in in a hotel. Around 17% will still trust a bank after a breach but only 14% will revisit a social media site. A measly 7% will use a ridesharing service when a breach occurs.
The biggest reason for the mistrust is not the data breach itself. Consumers understand that this happens even to the best of organizations. What they abhor is the fact that some companies have tried to hide this nugget of information in the past. Companies that were not upfront with their customers about the amount of data lost to the cyberattack are most likely to lose consumers because of the way they handled the issue.
Consumers are heavily affected not by the breach, but by the way companies responded to the breach. Those who were honest about the experience will earn the forgiveness of the customers. Companies whose responses do not sit well with the customers will have to do more to gain their trust again.
The Link Between Data Breaches and Company Reputation
It is the brand’s reputation that suffers the most during a cyberattack. But more than the impact on the present consumers, your brand will also suffer in the eyes of people who haven’t even checked you out yet. Surveys showed that 85% of customers will tell others about their experience with an organization that had a data breach. About 33% will post on social media about it (some might even tag your company). Also, 20% will post and comment directly on your business’ page.
Thanks to the internet (social media, in particular), the impact of a data breach is far and wide. The negative perception about a company does not stay with one person alone. Instead, many more will hear about it. Your consumers will talk about their disappointments in the most public of spaces right now—the internet.
How to Act After a Data Breach
It is, therefore, right to say that the way companies respond to a data breach will impact their survival in the eyes of their consumers. The best thing to do after a proven cyberattack is, to be honest with your customers. Break the news to them. Tell them what information may have fallen into the wrong hands, and then tell them how to go about changing their passwords and securing their data.
Explain to them what your company is doing now to prevent attacks like this from happening ever again. Don’t mention that you’re going to incentivize them in the same breath that you’re apologizing to them. However, make sure to incentivize their remaining loyal to your brand, but tell them about it through another email.
What’s the most important for any business? It’s the customers. Their perception of your brand will make or break your business. While cyberattacks happen all the time (on major or minor occasions), your response to it will have a huge impact on how trusting your audience will be again to you.