Expert phone support is a lifeline to your customers and employees after a data breach

Imagine the scenario: your business has just suffered a data breach. It’s a crisis. You’re on the phone to lawyers and insurers. IT forensic teams are trying to find out what’s happened if it’s a cyber-attack. This may take 2-3 weeks. You’re making a large number of vital decisions in a very concentrated amount of time, that could have a huge impact on the future of your brand. What will the impact be on your share price, and your cash flow and your customers? And all the while, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) clock is ticking – giving you just 72 hours in which to notify the regulator about what has been lost.

Customer interaction

According to our recent research, 85%* of customers expect the speed of response from businesses to be within one day. The interaction with your customers at this important juncture is critical – and the single most important support service Experian provides.

Reassurance and advice

Once the notification of the data breach has been sent out – whether by email, letter or text – the next sensible step is having experts at the ready to provide reassurance and offer advice to customers. This is where experienced call centres can take centre stage – and become your lifeline. Our latest survey has shown that 59% of consumers expect support on what to do when their data has been compromised.

Frontline experts

A pre-organised, dedicated team of case workers can act as the bridge between worried customers and busy organisations, trying to manage the crisis itself. These frontline experts will have access to predetermined answers to FAQs, a brief at the ready and training in dealing with people who have suffered the loss of personally identifiable information.

Restore confidence

Our in-depth research shows that assurance and human interaction can restore confidence quickly. Knowing someone is looking out for you in your time of need puts the customer first, and may limit reputational damage. What’s more, businesses don’t want their confused customers calling them at HQ, while they’re sorting out the aftermath of a breach. And yet, our research reveals that 65% of consumers would contact the organisation if their personal details had been lost, unless they are directed to pre-determined support.

International conundrum

And then there’s the added layers of complexity when you have international customers – both in terms of the new GDPR rules, and logistics. Do you need to offer advice in different languages on the end of the phone? If so, you’ll need native speaking individuals and different phone numbers for each country you’re dealing with too.

Here are some important customer service initiatives that can be prepared well ahead of a breach:

Customer care leaders will play a key role in preparing front-line experts to answer enquiries directly from affected or concerned customers/employees. They will be responsible for:

  • Developing and assisting in the development of Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Holding simulation training for front-line experts answering calls.
  • Preparing the dedicated data breach hot-line for affected individuals, as well as logging call volumes and frequently occurring questions and concerns from callers.

Above all, we would always advise businesses to put themselves in the position of a person whose data has been lost or compromised. How would you feel? No doubt, you’d be more reassured talking to a calm, knowledgeable person who is looking out for you. Consumers are telling us that’s what they want and need. If you can start rebuilding confidence in your brand from the get-go, trust will be more easily restored.

Find out more about how Experian help organisations put readiness plans in place, including call centre support, notification communications, credit and web monitoring.
Know your threats. Prepare your plans and Recover trust.

Read our whitepaper: Readiness vs The Reality

And refer to our helpful step by step guide: Data Breach Response Guide

Our research

*Experian commissioned research consultancy ComRes to shed new light on this constantly evolving topic, backed up by new statistics. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council. On behalf of Experian, ComRes conducted an online survey of IT business decision-makers at small, medium and large businesses in Great Britain (Online) in January 2017, across a variety of sectors (including manufacturing, arts and recreation, business and finance). Respondents were either: involved in the decision-making of their company’s data breach management, or were aware of data breach management if they were not directly involved. All respondents work for businesses that hold personally identifiable information (PII) data for 100 or more customers or employees. The 200 professionals questioned were from the following sized companies: 50 from small businesses (1-49); 50 from medium-small businesses (50-100); 50 from medium-large businesses (101-250); and 50 from large businesses (250 or more). It is important to note that when comparing figures from the business survey this year with 2016 findings, only SMEs were questioned last year, and not large businesses. At the same time, ComRes also surveyed 2,001 British adults to obtain a wide and varied comparison of what business decision-makers think in contrast to the public – or, in other words, their (potential) customers.