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How to restore customer loyalty after a data breach

By Julia Gabel
Fri 6 Oct 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

2017 so far has seen an inordinate number of cybersecurity meltdowns, with major data breaches making up a significant chunk of these.

Most recently, customer records of 146 million Equifax customers in the US were exposed in a security lapse. For customers, one of the most damaging scenarios possible is their personal information being exposed as the result of a breach.

But it’s not just customers that are affected; many organisations suffer the loss of both customer loyalty and reputational damage.

When it comes to market share, losing the Customer Experience (CX) race can be detrimental for a business.

Executives around the world continue to recognise that superior customer experiences yield greater business results, with a customer-centric approach moving higher on every organisation’s agenda.

In this day and age, data breaches and IT downtime are almost inevitable.

However, with the right CX strategies, organisations can ensure minimal damage is done to the customer’s experience both during and after a crisis.

Preparing for uncharted waters

With customer voices so powerful that one wrong move could alter mass perception of a business overnight, safeguarding an organisation to establish long-term loyalty and increase digital growth is a must.

Customers want to be able to trust that a company can take care of and not just prevent a data breach.

It is therefore essential for organisations to stress transparency and communication across the board, as customers become increasingly concerned with how an organisation responds to a breach than the fact it occurred in the first place. 

Information must be available at the click of a button to ensure a seamless customer experience.

In an organisation each department, location, and channel needs to have a holistic view of the customer, available at any point in time, to facilitate ongoing communication.

The overall perception of an organisation’s CX will be greatly improved by providing customer service teams with the right tools to pre-empt customer concerns, and ensuring contact centres are able to endure the peak in activity following a breach. 

For example, if a customer begins a conversation with a telco chatbot in the wake of a breach and the issue is not resolved, it is likely they will then call the support centre to seek further help.

If the support staff have easy access to each customer’s chatbot conversation history, they will be able to easily pick up where the chatbot left off, reassuring the customer and increasing their trust in the organisation.

Triumphing through automation

In its recent Banking Customer 2020 report, Accenture found that 34% of customers value high quality customer service - claiming that a poor customer service experience would be a significant contributing factor in their decision to switch or stop doing business with that institution.

As the financial services sector becomes increasingly competitive and cyber threats continue to rise, maintaining a high standard of CX will be a key differentiating factor between industry leaders and laggards.

Investing in the right tools and resources to ensure seamless end-to-end CX will be the defining factor for success as customers continue to interact and demand more from organisations through an increasing number of channels and platforms.

The race to deliver exceptional CX should be viewed as a marathon, not a sprint.

Poor CX, a drop in customer loyalty, and direct or indirect financial losses are often the result of testing technology systems following development, as opposed to performance measurement being an integral part of the development process.

To win this race, organisations need to develop a strategy that raises the bar on the capabilities of their customer touchpoints – and automation is the key. 

Automation to regain trust

Given the ease in switching products or brands, time-poor consumers are very unforgiving and will be quick to turn to competitors after experiencing CX failures, especially following a data breach.

This makes it more important than ever to measure and monitor CX at an operational level.

Operational Customer Experience (OCX) is focused on a customer’s experience of an organisation’s technology systems.

Measuring OCX through synthetic automated interactions provides an organisation with the ability to view a customer’s journey across digital channels with an outside-in perspective, in an objective and repeatable way.

Doing so allows flawless customer experiences by detecting and eliminating operational failures that lead to customer dissatisfaction before they even happen.

This lowers the amount of revenue lost due to customer frustrations and increases loyalty, which should be a priority for any organisation following a cyber-breach.

Investing in OCX measurement, therefore, needs to be a priority for any organisation looking to stay ahead of the curve while meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

After a data breach, unforgiving customers will not wait for the best CX – they will just move on to an organisation that is already offering it.

Making strategic OCX investments to transform both business and customer service models to work flawlessly and seamlessly together needs to become a top priority to regain and maintain customer trust.

Article by Alok Kulkarni, CEO and co-founder of  Australian start-up Cyara

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