By Anita Evenson, Contributor
Security leaks are rampant, and customers, not surprisingly, are becoming leery of anyone selling products or services online. Your customers need to know that you take security seriously. How exactly do you do it, and what do you communicate?
You should also be transparent about the security measures you undertake. For example, you can proudly display VeriSign security seals during the checkout process — that’s the crucial moment when your customers need to be reassured that your site is safe.
Customers want to buy your products and services. They don’t even mind giving you their credit card information. What they really don’t want, however, is for you to sell any of their information to other companies; few customers appreciate businesses that sell their information.
You never know when and where a security breach might occur. Ideally, all information you collect about your customers is encrypted safely, but not storing the information in the first place is even better.
Although this decision may seem counter-intuitive, the less information you store about your customers, the lower your risk will be for a security breach. Delete information from closed accounts, outdated information such as your customer’s previous address and anything else that you don’t really need. Before you ask your customer to give you information, ask yourself if you really need to know. If your answer is “No,” don’t collect that information in the first place.
A security breach is one of the worst things that could happen to your business. Not only do you have to spend money on recovering lost data and appeasing upset customers, but you also lose money on customers who will never trust you again. Therefore, the best option is to focus on prevention.
The obvious steps like requiring strong passwords, using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and encrypting your information are not enough. You also have to train your employees diligently and repeatedly on how to keep your customers’ information secure. To gain or keep their trust, show your customers exactly what you’re doing to keep them safe.
Nobody is perfect, not even your company. Your customers will forgive you for making mistakes, but only if you own up to them.
The key to earning your customers’ trust is to provide excellent customer service. If your customer was charged in error, it’s your job to apologize and make it right. If one of your employees leaked information (unintentionally or not), it’s your job to let your customers know that it happened and what you plan to do about it.
To engage with your customers, you need to respond promptly and use all communication channels. Be available for your customers, whether they call, email or use social media to get in touch with you.