Organizations have long embraced the customer experience and declared it a competitive differentiator. Many executives are quick to focus on the benefits of a loyal-centric strategy and companies now go to great lengths to communicate their organization’s customer centricity to retain existing customers and attract new ones.
But where is cybersecurity in this discussion?
Amid the proliferation of data, companies are gathering vast quantities of information and gleaning insights about their customers to improve business growth, products, services and the overall customer experience. At what point will cybersecurity become less of an IT challenge and a core component of the business?
This change is being driven by the consumer. Cybersecurity and data protection is no longer a topic just for network analysts and IT professionals. It has transitioned from the back pages of tech publications and into mainstream conversation. Consumers are asking if they are conducting business with organizations who are proactive about safeguarding their information and how they will fix it if a breach does occur.
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The impact on businesses is twofold. Whereby companies were once reticent about speaking publically about cybersecurity because it would cause consumers to question their business’s fragility must now embrace and communicate their ability to safeguard customer data. Forward thinking organizations have the opportunity to use security and due diligence as a competitive differentiator to build trust and loyalty with customers in the face of an increasingly insecure world.
It is no longer about delivering a world-class experience. It is about delivering a SECURE, world-class experience. In today’s digitally driven, social media world where consumers own the relationship, security has to become the very fabric of the business.
Take financial services. An industry once well known for having high customer acquisition costs has undergone a shift. Acquisition costs are dropping and customer churn is increasing. With virtual information transparency, relentless competition, new market entrants and little friction in moving accounts, it has never been easier for consumers to switch banks.
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With these industry trends in mind, a mass data breach can easily force longtime customers to switch banks. The latest Consumer Loss Barometer found that one out of every four consumers would switch banks if the financial institution lacked a solid plan on how to prevent further attacks following a data breach.
In financial services, just like other industries, customer data is increasingly spread across heterogeneous environments, devices and networks. Each transaction, each touchpoint, represents a security vulnerability in the customer experience. Security gaps between the underlying systems that manage these touchpoints represent the gaps that cyber assailants exploit. Addressing these vulnerabilities and solidifying a customer’s trust in a banking platform represents an opportunity to win the loyalty of today’s tech-savvy consumer.
Financial services is just one example and is at the forefront of addressing these issues. However, there are dozens of other industries that are lagging when it comes to achieving greater alignment between the cybersecurity and the customer experience. Ultimately, companies must begin thinking about cybersecurity less as a purely IT-managed risk and more as a strategic business issue. Until they do, they are missing a golden opportunity to build the brand, drive loyalty, increase sales and improve the overall customer experience.