Cyber Security and Customer Experience
An Introduction for CX professionals (Part 2)
You’re checking your notifications on LinkedIn when you see yet another shared article about a data breach exposing customer sensitive information.
After reading it, ideas start speeding through your mind about how you could make your customer journeys more safe and secure. But doubt enters your mind — is there any financial return to creating safer customer experiences? Yes, there is.
While technical teams may be responsible for putting cyber security practices in play, CX teams should ensure that each initiative meets customers’ expectations and places the Customer at the Centre of their Thinking and Doing.
In the second part of this four-part series on cyber security, I’ll briefly explain why CX practitioners should consider cyber security when enhancing customer experiences and why doing so is essential for businesses’ bottom lines.
Why customer experience teams should care about
Cyber security affects nearly every touchpoint in a customer’s journey. For example, customers may unwittingly share sensitive information by filling out a form in a phishing email disguised as a marketing email, or click on a malicious pop-up on your organizations’ website. Some SunTrust Bank customers, for example, received the phishing email below that was disguised as a legitimate account suspension email.
Hackers may also find loopholes in your business databases to steal sensitive information. For the sake of more secure brand interactions, CX teams should weave cyber safety into their initiatives.
Three ways cyber security can improve CX — and facilitate business goals more generally — include:
Closing security vulnerabilities in employee and customer experience
Technology has made customer journeys more dynamic and personalized. At the same time, it has created more opportunities for bad actors to steal information. Almost every customer touchpoint has potential security holes, as can the system businesses use to store customer data.
Talman, a software provider for wool companies in Australia and New Zealand suffered a ransomware attack that affected its databases in early 2020. As a result of Talman’s being temporarily offline, Australian wool sales had to be rescheduled. The attack and sales delay also impacted their customers’ cashflows.
Likewise, numerous other data breaches, such as Monash IVF’s 2019 data breach and West Australia Department of Health’s 2020 data breach have seen sensitive customer information compromised and/or shared.
Not all cyberattacks are external, however — they could be as innocuous as weak passwords and internal security protocols. Additionally, employees who aren’t aware of the role they play in providing a secure customer experience may leave excellent ideas on the table or overlook security holes.
Indeed, implementing strong cyber security-CX initiatives involves a deep understanding of the six CX core competencies and the end-to-end customer experience management (CXM) clearly.
Practitioners looking to optimize their customer journey should enrol in the Customer Experience Excellence Course for deeper insights into CXM.
Therefore, CX and IT teams should join together to educate colleagues about cyber security best practices and the role their actions play in providing secure customer experiences. Doing so can not only help organizations to reach their CX goals and business goals more generally, but can also help with retaining customers.
Avoiding the consequences of cyber attacks on customer trust and your organization’s reputation
The consequences of mishandling customer data and breaches do major damage to a brand’s reputation and revenue.
65% of consumers said they’d lost trust in a business after a breach. 27% of people also said they had discontinued their relationship with a business after a data breach.
Consumers awareness of Cyber Security is growing, a recent survey by CISCO found that 29% of Consumers are “Privacy Actives” taking control and switching companies or providers over their data policies or practices [i]
ProctorU, an online exam proctoring company, experienced a data breach in 2020 where students’ personal records were shared online. ProcotorU’s breach affected over 444,000 users around the world, including Australian university students. In response, several Australian universities launched investigations into the attack. 4,000 students at the University of Queensland also signed a petition asking the university to stop using ProctorU.
ProctorU’s example shows that clients’ decision to sever a business relationship may not only be due to the cyber attack, but also pressure from the clients’ own customers and vendors.
Unfortunately, one business’ misfortune can be another’s blessing. 52% of customers said they would consider paying for the same products and services from a vendor with better security.
To maintain customers’ trust in their organizations and keep their business, CX teams should invest in cyber security programs that enhance customer experiences.
In our last section, we’ll visit the most damaging aspect of a cyber security breach: financial and legal ramifications.
Reducing the risk of financial and legal repercussions
Still, most companies pay a hefty price tag for even small cyber attacks. IBM found that the global average total cost of a data breach was $3.86 million, for example.
Audit Analytics’ similarly found that most expensive breaches cost an average of $116 million, though these sums can go even higher.
Consider Uber’s 2016 data breach as an example. Uber paid $148 million to settle claims over a 2016 data breach and faced a lawsuit from all 50 states in the U.S., several cities, and private parties, among other repercussions.
While organizations will likely face legal consequences for a data breach, putting protocols in place, acting swiftly, and assisting affected customers may greatly reduce the fines and litigations businesses face.
Proactive responses may also limit the number of legal and financial limitations that could affect funding for future customer experience initiatives. Therefore, it’s important for CX leaders to develop relationships with cross-functional teams to avoid the financial repercussions of cyber attacks.
As these examples have shown, cyber security initiatives should involve team members from multiple departments who could add diverse perspectives and ideas to protecting customers online.
Cyber security is essential to modern day
Creating more secure digital experiences for customers creates a win-win situation for organizations and their clients. Businesses can benefit from increased customer trust, fewer opportunities for cyber-attacks and breaches, and a reduced chance of a cyber-attack-related lawsuit.
More secure experiences also offer customers more peace of mind in knowing that businesses are doing their best to protect their data.
However, CX teams will need to collaborate with multiple other teams to deliver fully optimized experiences.
In the upcoming third article of this four-part series, I’ll explore opportunities for cyber-attacks in major touchpoints in customer journeys. If you’re just reading part 2 here’s a link to part 1 of this series.
In the interim, I would recommend you enrol in the upcoming Customer Experience Excellence Course to enhance your knowledge of the six customer experience competencies and prepare for the Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) exam.
- 3 Legal repercussions of Cyber Attacks
- About the CCXP
- Australian universities investigating ‘deeply concerning’ hack of controversial exam software
- Australian wool sales stopped by ransomware attack
- Consumer Loss Barometer
- Customer Experience Excellence Course
- CX Core Competencies
- Cyber attack forces cancellation of wool sales across Australia
- Cyber Security Laws of Different Countries
- Fears over patient data breach after cyberattack on Monash IVF
- How Cybersecurity is an Opportunity to Improve CX
- How much would a data breach cost your business?
- The Impact of Data Breaches On Reputation & Share Value
- New FireEye Research Reveals the Impact of High-Profile Security Breaches on U.S. Consumers’ Trust of Brands
- Phishing email examples to help you identify phishing scams
- Trends in Cybersecurity Breach Disclosures
- Uber Pays $148 Million Over Yearlong Cover-Up of Data Breach
- Uber to pay $148 million to settle data breach cover-up with U.S. states
- WA Department of Health data breach sees confidential patient information published online