Striking the Perfect Balance with Cybersecurity & The Customer Experience


In the era of data breaches, consumers are demanding that companies be more transparent about cybersecurity. Companies, who integrate security as a top priority, will reap the benefits through customer loyalty, and will ultimately see it impact their bottom line, writes, 

Anna Convery-Pelletier, CMO, Radware.

Today’s marketers strive to create the perfect customer experienceOpens a new window . From relationship management to personalization to user interface, every touchpoint creates a new opportunity to make the customer experience even better. But as marketers have tried to achieve this goal, security has fallen to the wayside, and those touchpoints often introduce new vulnerabilities unknown to companies. As companies continue to collect more and more data from consumers to inform personalization strategies, at what point does protection of that data become less of an IT challenge and more a core component of the business?

Driven by consumer conversation and demand, cybersecurity and data protection are no longer topics just for network managers and IT professionals. In fact, 72%Opens a new window of executives report discussing security in every meeting. Today’s consumers are asking questions about the safety measures the companies they’re conducting business with are taking, and how they’ll react if a breach does occur. As a result, companies need to be prepared to answer the questions their customers are asking to maintain and expand their business.

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How Are You Protecting My Personal Information?

Organizations have spent billions of dollars to create faster, easier and more access points for customers to interact with their brand. It’s worked – today’s consumers offer brands more personal data than ever before. For marketers, it’s a dream-come-true – more access equals more insights and more customer data recorded, enabling more personalized and customized customer experiences.

Previously, brands interacted much less frequently with their customers. As customers increasingly demand personalized experiences, brands communicate much more often across various touchpoints and channels, collecting exponential amounts of data. This massive data collection makes businesses ripe for data breaches, often resulting in negative customer interactions. Additionally, an overabundance of personal data collection can make consumers feel like their privacy has been invaded.  

As a result of these breaches, consumer trust in corporations has never been lower. We feel the impact of this trust erosion in new legislation across the globe, designed to give consumers some power back over their data, like GDPR and Castle Laws. We also see the impact in customer churn, brand abandonment and poor Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)Opens a new window after a breach – today’s executives report customer loss, brand reputation loss and revenue or operational loss as the four main business impacts of a security incident, and an average churn of 30% of customers following an incident.

We know that the best way to combat this breach in trust is by investing in security upfront – not just monetarily, but in time and organizational commitment. This forces us as marketers to change the type of conversations we have with our customers. 

Why should I do business with you?

While companies were once hesitant to speak publicly about cybersecurity because it often caused consumers to question an institution’s resistance to vulnerabilities, today, forward thinking organizations have the opportunity to use security and due diligence to build trust and loyalty with customers in the face of an increasingly insecure world.

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For organizations looking to start the conversation with their customers, keep these five points in mind:

  • Don’t fear the security conversation, embrace it. In the midst of ongoing security issues, technology companies are at the forefront of the conversation, and they’re taking a strong stance. While your organization doesn’t need to be as outright, as a marketer, you can identify the right tone and timing for a security conversation with your audience.
  • Ask your customers about their security concerns and listen to their answers! Along with the vulnerabilities it introduces, our digital landscape allows marketers to engage in a two-way dialogue with customers. Listen to what they’re saying, and take their suggestions to your product and development teams – incorporate it into your company’s DNA.
  • Develop features and services that empower your customers to protect their own privacy. There are countless examples of innovation and evolution around security as a feature, from credit monitoring to IoT doorbells. What can you do in your own industry to introduce a product through innovation that empowers your customers to protect themselves?
  • Highlight all the different ways your company is protecting its customer’s data and privacy. Talk to your customers about their security concerns to show them you take their privacy seriously. Educate them about all the policies you have in place to protect them.  
  • Don’t whitewash security concerns. Addressing customer concerns should be at the crux of your business strategy. As a marketer, be their champion for injecting security into the DNA of your organization.

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What Makes You Better Than the Next Company?

Security threats can seriously impact a company’s brand reputation, resulting in customer loss, reduced operational productivity and lawsuits. C-suite executives recognize the multiple pressures on their organizations to integrate new network technologies, transform their businesses and defend against cyberattacks. Those organizations that are willing to embrace technology and change and prioritize cybersecurity will be the ones to win the trust and loyalty of the 21st century consumer.

In today’s digitally driven, social media world where consumers own the relationship, it’s no longer just about delivering a world-class experience. It is about delivering a secure, world-class experience, and companies who do so will see the benefits in customer loyalty and trust.