Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

Guest Blog: Do customer experience teams take cyber security risks?

This week we feature an article by Chanice Henry who writes about the importance of cyber security in providing a trustworthy experience for your customers. – Shep Hyken

Customer loyalty is built on trust.

CX teams that are lax with data security put their organization’s reputation on the line, as well as the trust of their customers.

Cyber security is no longer something that just IT teams need to worry about. It has broader business ramifications, such as widespread customer dissatisfaction, which leads to customer churn and ultimately, revenue loss.

Successful cyber attacks have plunged organizations of all shapes and sizes into chaos, from private companies to governments. Common threats come in the form of mobile malware, spear phishing, denial of service attacks, botnets, ransomware and advanced persistent threats (APT). Meanwhile, as technology evolves – and the sophistication of attacks along with it – we will likely see technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning being applied by malicious actors for more persistent and intelligent attacks.

Cyber security experts often state that employees are both the strongest and weakest link in cyber defense. So it is important that both technical and non-technical employees understand this risk and have the knowledge to mitigate cyber threats. Especially as businesses process more customer data than ever before and often this data is siloed in different departments and systems. Every employee working with customer data needs to consider their treatment of data very carefully.

In our latest market research on cyber security, the majority of CX practitioners surveyed understood that secure data is a chief expectation among customers, with over 54 percent stating that it is “very important”.

To further test awareness, we asked our respondents to identify the biggest threat a cyber attack could bring to their organization.  Some of the biggest concerns among the CX professionals were the loss of customer trust (54 percent) and a diminished brand reputation (46 percent). The risk of a data breach is also ranked as a major threat (54 percent). These results are unsurprising considering the high profile data breaches that have occurred in recent years.

Proactive cyber security

A responsible organization should ensure that all departments have the foundational knowledge to mitigate common cyber security threats. A high number of organizations adopt a pre-existing risk framework. While useful, this often does not take into account the specific risks faced by an individual organization.

Over three quarters (76 percent) of our respondents told us that they do have routing IT policy procedures. This figure demonstrates a responsible attitude towards cultivating a strong cyber security culture, given the fact that the overwhelming majority of respondents believe they have routinely tested cyber policies in place.

Ted Bardusch, CISO at customer engagement hub Usermind highlights that a unified customer record is crucial to being able to meet the GDPR’s 72-hour customer breach notification rule. “To guarantee customer retention, CX teams need to consider a security breach as a likely stop along the customer journey. An incorrect email address or a missing point of contact could be the difference between ruining a customer relationship forever and rebuilding customer trust and driving retention following a breach.”

In the event of a successful cyber breach, CX leaders will have to manage customer expectations in an attempt to secure brand reputation and consumer trust. As such, it is not just about defending against cyber attacks; CX teams should aim to be pro-active, not reactive.

The majority of CX practitioners in our research believe their organizations take a sensible approach towards training, ensuring that all employees receive regular information security coaching. It is especially encouraging to see the 23 percent of respondents who feel that teams should receive more frequent training.

Yet, in some organizations and CX teams push back against data security protocols on the pretense of cyber processes adversely affecting ease of use and customer service. Conversely, other CX teams are aiming to increase cyber security seek to offer easy authentication and data protection, while keeping the negative impact on CX minimal.

Does this mean that the traditionally frustrating aspects of digital security, such as user authentication, will undergo major upheaval? Also, we could see new customer experience-centric security controls place a bigger strain on budgets.

Chanice Henry is the Editor of CX Network where she produces a range of premium-level content for senior customer experience, service, insight, digital and marketing leaders.

For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to

Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Holiday Gift-Giving: What Do Your Employees (Or Your Boss) Really Want?


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