Data breaches aren’t good news, and if your company has suffered one, you might be wondering what happens now. Read on for eight ways to save your brand’s reputation after a data breach…
A personal data breach where sensitive information like names, addresses, and credit card information is accessed is every customer’s worst nightmare. It can leave them feeling stressed and out of pocket and have long-lasting consequences for them and your brand. Unfortunately, sometimes, with all the precautions in place, data breaches still occur, and nothing can be done about this.
You don’t want your brand to leave a sour taste in your customers’ mouths. But how can you put out the fires, manage your customers’ expectations, and maintain your brand reputation? These eight steps might help…
1. Don’t Pretend it Hasn’t Happened
You’re panicking; we get it. But, after a data breach, the worst thing you can try to do is cover it up. Not only will this make it much more difficult to regain the trust of your customers, but it is also illegal.
With a personal data breach, you must inform the ICO (or other relevant supervisory authority) and your customers within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach. This means, one way or another, your company will have to admit what has happened. So, you might as well start with your best foot forward and own it.
It would be best to be fully transparent about what happened, how it happened, what data was accessed, and what is being done to ensure that it isn’t going to happen again. This will help to limit the reputational damage done.
2. Inform your Customers
Next up, you need to inform your customers. Although you have the 72 hours to let them know, as, with anything, the information is better off coming from you and not a competitor or news outlet who might have got hold of the story before you tell them.
Once you have some reliable information about the nature and scope of the data, let your customers know. Also, expect that your customers will want to know all the details. It’s therefore important to ensure that, internally, everyone knows what’s going on.
3. Offer Exceptional Customer Service
Offer excellent customer service – this involves ensuring your customer service team can answer the questions being thrown at them and show empathy at all times.
Ideally, your customer service team will be individually contacting those whose data has been breached to make the situation more personal and show the brand cares about its customers. However, we get that this isn’t always possible.
Your customer service team deals with things that speak volumes compared to your social media response, PR campaigns, and interviews (although these are all important too). Nevertheless, this is what those affected will remember, and they are the people you want to return to the business.
Your customer service team needs to be professional, patient, and offer consistency that customers otherwise enjoy when enquiring during less stressful times. As well as this, it would be best if you were offering your customers useful guidance and assistance.
4. Provide Useful and Relevant Guidance and Assistance
So, what actions is the business taking to help affected people? One of the biggest dangers of a personal data breach is identity theft, and, as mentioned above, this can have long-lasting damages that you need to be aware of and inform your customers about.
You, therefore, need to be able to arm your team and your customers with accurate information to deal with this risk. Ideally, put together some documents or a list of useful links they can use.
In 2019, Canva suffered a cyber-attack affecting approximately 139 million Canva accounts. They immediately locked down Canva, stopped the attack as it was happening, and notified their users with full disclosure of what happened and how their data was affected. This open approach, quick reaction, and reassurance that the customers were the highest priority meant that Canva received limited negative effects on its reputation.
Canva took control of the story and kept their customers updated.
5. Take Control of the Story
As previously mentioned, data breaches can have detrimental effects on brands and customers. A recent PwC report found that 87 percent of consumers are willing to walk away if a data breach occurs. This means you need to be in control of the story from the start. This helps reassure people that you are on it, which will better affect your reputation.
By taking control of the story, you can lead a campaign to teach others in the industry about what happened and how to stop it from happening in the future. If it’s fully your company’s fault, tell everyone about the changes you are making to culture and security to stop it from happening again.
Taking control of the story will also mean that your competitors are less likely to reference your data breach in their promotional activities indirectly.
6. Customise Communication
With the time-sensitive nature of a data breach, you might be tempted to send out a single broadcast message. However, you are likely to have multiple customers with different needs, spanning multiple languages and countries, and different consequences of a data breach. So, it’s beneficial to develop additional messages for different segments.
7. Use Social Media
Over 65 percent of business leaders believe that social media can worsen a brand crisis. But, by playing your cards right and taking control of what is being said, you can use social media to your advantage. This means using your social media accounts to acknowledge the situation, offer an apology, and show what is being done to rectify it and not continue with your other strategy for the time being.
By posting about your products and services, making jokes, and highlighting customers’ reviews, you might be infuriating those customers affected. You can also use your social media accounts to respond to comments and questions about the breach. Although not a data breach, Starbucks can be seen as a company that responded to a crisis well using social media when a racial bias incident occurred at one of their stores.
8. Finally, Focus on Prevention
After a data breach, the most important part of your marketing campaign is ensuring that this won’t happen again. In addition, your company should use the incident to carefully construct data security and data privacy policies to detect what probable and destructive scenarios could occur.
Ready to restore customer trust after a personal data breach?
Restoring trust will not happen overnight; you need to think of it as a long-term project. However, customers are rational and realistic, so if they see your company putting in measures to stop this from happening again, you can start to regain their trust.
92 percent of customers in a survey stated that they would be more willing to trust a company with their personal information if they had control over what information is collected about them, so this could be something your company thinks about in the future.
If you have any top tips for managing your company’s reputation after a data breach, let us know below.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained data breach professional. Be sure to consult a data breach professional if you seek advice about what to do after a data breach. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.
8 Ways Good Marketing Can Save Your Reputation After a Data Breach
- Anete Lusina, https://www.pexels.com/photo/pensive-man-holding-credit-card-and-browsing-smartphone-on-street-in-daytime-6353676/
- Andrea Piacquadio, https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-with-headphones-facing-computer-monitor-845451/
- Tracy Le Blanc, https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-iphone-showing-social-networks-folder-607812/