A data breach can be an absolute death sentence. Big name companies like Facebook make headlines every week for the millions that their high profile hacks have cost them.
However, it is less headline-worthy when a small-to-medium-sized business has to declare bankruptcy after being hacked, even though their breach’s fallout is catastrophic.
Fortune 500 companies have armies IT and network staff and the best possible technology in place. However, every single one of them has experienced a breach of some sort.
How do you mitigate the damage from one of these attacks? The first step is making sure you’re working with a secure data center to protect your office data. If you’re looking for a new provider, click the following link to learn more about your options at UpStack and find the perfect data center to suit your needs.
Next, you will want to follow these steps to communicate with your customers.
Prepare Your Scripts Right Now
You need to have a full data breach plan with prepared and pre-approved messaging. This would include:
- Internal email templates to communicate the breach to your staff
- Customer service email templates to communicate the breach to customers
- Templates and scripts for your sales team, customer service staff, and social media community managers
Having a detailed plan ready well in advance of an incident can greatly reduce how long it takes your company to respond, while reducing the possible damage to your brand’s reputation.
Be Honest and Sincere
When you’re creating this messaging, be sure to come off as sincere as possible without too much nebulous corporate-speak or jargon. You’re trying to make a human connection. People are more likely to forgive a human being than a corporation.
Be sure to honestly communicate:
- What exactly has happened
- How it happened
- What steps you’re taking to fix it and ensure it never happens again
- What steps the customer needs to take
The legislation for what agencies you may need to report this to will vary from state to state. Be sure you thoroughly research what’s required. Make sure you’ve researched what you need and have this communication prepared as well.
Your social network is likely about to flood with posts and direct messages asking what has happened. You also may get a number of customers using far-from-professional language.
Do not delete these negative comments. This makes it look like you have something to hide and may hurt your brand further. Respond to these publically and keep your tone professional, empathic and sincere.
In any sort of PR crisis (be it a product recall or a data breach) social media gives you the chance to take the reins and control the narrative. Swift action and good personalized messaging can even turn detractors and angry customers into loyal fans.
Give Customers Something
Your apologies may not be enough. But, giving something away for free is always a good way to smooth out customer relations.
Offer your customers something for their inconvenience to keep their brand loyalty. This could be a 30% discount on their next invoice or something of that ilk. A cell phone provider may consider giving 2 gigs of data to their customers.
Again, having a playbook already in place will reduce the chaos that follows a data breach. Make sure it clearly outlines everyone’s tasks and has plenty of prepared messaging. Being prepared means you’re not scrambling to keep up and can actually get ahead of what happens next.