Consumers across the UK do not trust organisations to protect their personal data and believe business and the government should be doing more to safeguard their privacy.
Most consumers acknowledge that data breaches are now ‘a part of life’, but they are also warning UK organisations that they will shop elsewhere if cyber security is not part of the customer service promise.
According to research of 1,000 consumers, UK organisations have a hard task persuading customers to trust them in the wake of recent hacks.
More than three-quarters (76 per cent) now believe organisations will never truly be able to protect their data and almost 1 in 4 also suggest that ‘nothing could restore my trust’ after a data breach.
The data reveals that customer confidence has been hit by a constant stream of cyber-attacks. As a result the public is putting pressure on business and Government to outline, and increase, security levels.
Around 83 per cent argue that organisations should highlight what they are doing to protect customer data and 81 per cent want to see Government take action by reviewing data protection legislation. More (83 per cent) also want to see the government imposing fines if sufficient safeguards are not implemented.
Taking action also goes beyond prevention, with respondents indicating that how businesses react to a data breach could determine loyalty and recommendations which in turn impact revenue generation over the long-term.
Around 30 per cent, for example, admit they will change suppliers if the company they are using becomes a victim of cyber attack. 28 per cent would also never consider using an organisation if it had been previously been reported as a victim.
Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service, said: “Acceptance of the inevitability of cyber attacks may be a reality, but British consumers have become increasingly concerned about the way organisations use customer data and protect it, once a breach has happened.
“They want to know what plans are in place to secure personal data, before sharing it. They rightly demand reassurance that organisations will be transparent in the event of a breach and they are also seeking clarity about how brands will respond if cyber defences are broken.
“The fact is that a customer’s experience is determined not just by performance when things go well, but the promise of performance when things go wrong.
“That’s why the organisations best able to deliver a strong, reassuring and detailed outline of their cyber strategy and demonstrate its execution will set themselves apart from their competitors and go a long way to securing the loyalty of customers in the long-term.”
The overwhelming feeling is that organisations should take several clear steps to maintain trust and ensure the customer experience is not shaken by a breach.
The top demand is for clarification that a new security programme has been installed (27 per cent), while 9 per cent want notification of an updated security policy and 6 per cent want personal phone calls updating them about the situation.
Consumers are keen to deliver the message that security and customer service go hand in hand, with 81 per cent of respondents believing that any employee in an organisation should be able to inform them about data security policy.