President Obama’s sixth address to the union was last night. He touched on several key issues citizens in the US are familiar with from unrest in the Middle East to the need for better opportunities for middle-class families to thrive in the economy. One interesting bit of his speech touched on an important issue for Customer Centricity: data breaches.
In the address, he said the following:
No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information. If we don’t act, we’ll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable. If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe.
I was curious what he meant by that, so I did some Googling. Last week, he previewed some of his plans associated with this concept, and I have to admit, I was flabbergasted by them. According to the article I read on Time.com, President Obama revealed his plan at the Federal Trade Commission. He said the federal standard he would impose to notify Customers their information had been compromised should be 30 days. Many pundits commented that the standard wasn’t as good as those already in place for 47 states.
I am surprised that it would take as long as 30 days to tell a Customer of a data breach! In today’s world I would hope companies have contingency plans they would roll out if a data breach happened, but maybe I am naive….
Also to legislate this policy worries me. If they have the need to legislate, then lags in notifying Customers must have happened so many times they feel the need to put it in law! This is a law for the “non-Customer centric” organizations.
Can you legislate a critical part of serving your Customers well in this way? The answer is No! Customer centricity is not the result of a sweeping (and frankly, rather relaxed) standard issued by the government. Customer centricity is the result of cultivating a culture that puts the Customer at the heart of everything you do.
Immediate notification that includes next steps for Customers is the standard protocol for Customer-centric companies in the event of a data breach. Target, who suffered the data breach in 2013, knows the importance of this immediate and comprehensive action. They were a real-time cautionary tale we all witnessed in the recent past of how to mishandle a data breach rollout.
Customers are nervous about their data security. It is your organization’s responsibility to protect that data. And to inform them when you have a problem, quickly. It is critical to gain Customer’s trust in data Security.
The fact is Customer centricity, like a lot of things, is not something that can be made into law. It is the responsibility of an organization to put the Customer at the center of everything they do, and to design a deliberate experience showing this. Anything else gets my personal VETO.
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If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:
- The Draining of Target’s Emotional Bank Account
- 4 Ways to Gain Customers’ Trust in Data Security
- Five Insights on How to Build a Customer-Centric Organization
Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author offour best-selling books and an engaging keynote speaker.
Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX