As breaches increase in their scale, sophistication and frequency, it’s never been more important that companies takes a proactive approach to security infrastructure and — if necessary — to rebuilding customer loyalty after a data breach.
Create a data breach response plan
Just as in any crisis, you need a plan to minimize potential harm and prevent the same crisis from happening again. A data breach response plan, or the process your company follows in the wake of a breach, requires company-wide accountability, the promise of transparency, and a willingness to make things right.
When you tackle the response to an overwhelming customer service crisis like this, remember the “service recovery paradox”:
“Research shows that when a company recovers well after a significant service failure, it can benefit from higher customer satisfaction levels than before the crisis.”
Rebuilding trust requires that you go above and beyond — here’s how to start one step at a time.
Understand data breach notification laws
If your company has been at the center of a data breach, it’s also subject to intricate, complex regulations that protect customers around the world. These security breach notification laws are becoming more rigorous. All 50 states, legislate data breaches.
As a business owner or leader, you need to understand how the laws affect your data breach response plan. If you have customers across multiple states, you’re bound to comply with the laws of those states. For example, Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit against Uber for violating a data law protecting Pennsylvania residents.
While you could try to untangle these laws on your own, your company would benefit from a service that understands the ins and outs of data breach notification laws and stays up on the latest changes in legislation. CSR uRISQ Data Breach Support can help you understand the granular elements of your responsibilities, especially if your company is based online and needs to adhere to multiple sets of regulations.
Consider your ethical & legal obligations as a company
Security breach notification laws list the bare minimum requirements for honoring the rights of customers, but they don’t show you how to win back the trust of your customers. Doing the right thing in a data breach scenario means going beyond regulations to make things right.
J.J. Thompson, CEO at Rook Security, told Forbes there’s a “magic seven-day window” to present customers with a clear assessment of what happened and how you’re going to fix it. Although a week may seem like a short time frame, it’s a long time for customers whose credit card or social security numbers were leaked.
How to draft a security breach notification
A “data breach consumer notification” is when you let your customer know that there’s been a security breach. This is when it’s really important to follow the letter of the law. But even when companies follow data breach notification laws with exacting detail, they often fall short in multiple ways. There are a few keys to getting a breach notification right, and the most important one is to treat your customers as humans first.
- Empathize with your customers
- Be transparent about what happened
- Outline the ways you’re fixing the vulnerability
- Pay for an identity protection plan
- Give an incentive for loyalty
Empower your teams with the right information
Data security breaches are a mess for customers, but they’re also a nightmare for support teams. Customer support professionals can (understandably) expect a flurry of urgent requests from furious customers who want to understand how and why this happened.
Give your support team everything they need to help customers understand the situation. Create clear guidelines about what and how support should talk about the breach and give them all the context they need to understand the importance of every dialogue.
Near-constant complaints of this magnitude can test the patience of even the most experienced support professionals. Offer ample breaks and extra recognition to the team for rebuilding customer loyalty after a data breach.
Continue the conversation with customers
Even the most thoughtful and effective security breach notification isn’t the end of a successful data breach response plan. One point of communication will never be enough with a customer support issue this huge.
If you want to woo customers back, you need to follow through on the dialogue you started. Keep your community up to date on new security measures and become an advocate for taking preventative steps in your industry — after all, you’re in the best position to help educate the public on a topic we just don’t talk about enough before it’s too late.