home Customer Experience What every leader needs to know about cyber security – Part II

What every leader needs to know about cyber security – Part II

This article was originally published on managingcx,com.

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

79% of customers believe that businesses have a reasonable responsibility to protect their data, with 66% of customers being somewhat too extremely worried about connected devices getting hacked.

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.

Reducing the risk of financial and legal repercussions

The financial and legal repercussions of cyber attacks can depend on different Cyber Security Regulations and the extent of its effect on customers.

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
customer journeys

Creating more secure digital experiences for customers creates a win-win situation for organisations 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.

Anita Siassios

Anita Siassios, CCXP ,Forrester CXPro, IAPP, WiCyS is a customer experience, privacy and program management leader with over 33 years experience specialising in banking, technology, operations and privacy, and leading large teams across geographies. Anita is founder and managing director of ManagingCX. ManagingCX is proud to be the first Australian CX leader to deliver the CXPA(Customer Experience Professionals Association) authorised training program across Australia.