Posted: 29th September 2017

The importance of Customer Experience in the wake of Equifax hack

Credit reference agency Equifax has been criticised for its breach response of the mega-hack that affected the data of up to 143 million people in the US alone.

The credit reference giant admitted that hackers accessed data including names, social security numbers and birth dates of its US customers from mid-May this year, after exploiting a vulnerable website application.

Three customer experience and service weaknesses come to light in the wake of the disclosure:

  1. The breach was discovered July 29, more than a month before they reported it

Equifax admitted hackers stole data between mid-May and July this year due to a vulnerability on its website. However, the hack was not made officially public until now.

Moreover, a damming piece of information was exposed: Three Equifax executives sold nearly $2 million in shares in the company days after the cyberattack was discovered but they “had no knowledge that an intrusion had occurred at the time they sold their shares.”

This has been declined comment. Transparency is one of the top reasons for customer loyalty as it goes without saying, this builds trust and breaks down barriers.

Customer experience loyalty

  1. The response

After revealing the data breach had exposed personal information of 143 million Americans, Equifax asked customers to go to a website set up to find out whether they were one of the unfortunate victims. However, it has been widely reported that when trying the site many seem to be getting no actual response to that question. The system installed on this special website is giving users three answers: Yes, probably not, or strangely, no answer at all.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has also had to step in and urge Equifax to alert affected UK customers as soon as possible.

Again, transparency! Talk to your customers; they want to feel they are talking to a human and not a robot. Generic emails and automated voices miss that true interaction between a customer and an organisation. Clear communication and quick time response have been missed in this instance and as a result, customers are being given misleading information.

  1. Customer loyalty

Hackers pose a threat to any business no matter how big or small, but the ripple effect this has on the customers loyalty is down to you. If you aren’t in regular communication, customers will begin to feel cut off. In this case, the companies handling, response and aftercare plan on how to better shield users from the devastating effects of data hacking has not been communicated well and as such, customer loyalty will be lost. Trust is earned in drops, but lost in buckets and that’s what makes the value of customer experience so important.

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