Customers don’t much care whether or not your business assets are secure against theft or breach. If a burglar breaks into your physical premises, customers might be shocked, but they will primarily wonder when you will be back to business as usual, so they can get the products they need.
However, the same can’t be said for their own data. Customers want to know that any data you are collecting on them, from their name and phone number to their payment information, is secure against any threat. In fact, customer security is so important that it should be a primary component of your customer experience strategy. Here’s why.
Customers Know the Threats
It isn’t just businesses that are struggling to combat the ever-growing threats of the digital world. Consumers also face more than their fair share of cyberattacks, which means they are well-aware of the things you need to protect their data from and the ways you should be doing it. What’s more, they expect to see evidence of your cybersecurity efforts advertised on your website, so they can feel safe handing over the data you demand from them.
In the Digital Age, it’s almost impossible to hide when something goes wrong with your company’s security — and you shouldn’t try to hide it, anyway. The media picks up on stories of data breaches, malware plagues and other digital disasters with alarming alacrity, and any efforts to cover up your cyber woes will result in greater customer distress and a great exodus from your company.
The Competition Is Fierce
While you might have worked hard to develop a unique selling proposition and carve a distinct niche out of your industry and market, you should be aware of at least a few competitors you have vying for the customers in your space. You need to remember that customers can always run to your competition when they are dissatisfied with your service.
Typically, this awareness of competition drives businesses to avoid making any changes to their digital strategies — but that’s the exact wrong tactic. Customers understand that security requires small tweaks every once in a while, and they will be sympathetic as long as you communicate your updates effectively before, during and afterwards. Conversely, if you fail to provide the security your customers expect, they will leave you for competitors who do place customer security as a high priority.
Losing Information Is Easy
It’s likely that you collect a bevy of customer information for the sake of optimizing your sales and marketing strategies. Most data blogs encourage collecting everything from customers’ names and email addresses to phone numbers, street addresses and payment card numbers. Once you collect this info, you need to store it — which means it becomes a part of your organizational data. Thus, an attack on your business becomes an attack on your customers.
Losing customer data is easy because it requires you to do nothing but collect and use customer information. It is more difficult to enact security protocols to keep customer data safe — but it certainly isn’t prohibitively demanding or impossible, as you might predict.
Keeping Data Safe Can Be Easy, Too
It’s easy to keep customer data safe because it requires little more than generally protecting your business from cyber threats. Here is a typical list of security precautions you should take to keep your business secure and your customers happy:
- Utilize encryption services. All data sent between your business and your customers should be encrypted. This prevents data like usernames, passwords, payment information and more from being seen by prying eyes.
- Secure your business network. It’s important for business endpoints (like computers and smartphones) to have security software, but your network is often the most at-risk of attack. Network security solutions monitor your network for suspicious activity and block known and suspected threats immediately.
- Teach employees about security. Employees are at-fault for the vast majority of data leaks and breaches. By implementing a strong security training program for employees, you can ensure they focus on security each and every day.
- Communicate your security emphasis. This could be the most important step of all: If customers don’t know about your security efforts, they will continue to be suspicious of your data gathering and hesitant to make purchases. You should make security an integral part of your brand and publish content to bolster your secure image.
Your business needs customers, and your customers need your business to be secure. By making customer security a major element of your security strategy, you will gain more loyalty and reduce the risks of costly attacks.