The emotional impact of data breaches

As consumers’ awareness of data security and the value of their personal information increases, so does their trust in influencing how and how much they spend with organisations that have suffered a security breach.

Over 4,000 people in the UK and United States were questioned as part of a consumer survey to discover payment security preferences when sharing information online and over the telephone. The research conducted by PCI Pal uncovered some stark differences in sentiment and behaviour changes relating to data security.

Looking at the cultural differences, New York psychotherapist Dr. Ellyn Gamberg was invited to review the research to compare the behaviours between the two regions.

A string of high-profile data breaches on either side of the Atlantic, paired with consumers’ personal experiences and the introduction of GDPR in Europe, has prioritised security in the eyes of the public and changed their outlook on personal data forever.

The cost of a data breach in the UK appears to be higher than in the United States, with 41% of British consumers stating they would stop spending with a business or brand forever following a data breach, compared to just 21% of US consumers.

In contrast, 62% of US consumers would instead stop spending for several months following a security breach or hack, with 44% of Brits agreeing the same.

More than half (56%) of all UK respondents were more reluctant to give credit payment details verbally over the phone than Americans, with 42% of US respondents suggesting they were uncomfortable reading out details.

Furthermore, US consumers were generally less accepting to provide payment details over the phone with only 15% saying they would “hand over their information, no questions asked”, compared to a quarter of UK consumers.

Similarities between the countries and small differences in measurable responses such as spending habits, customer and brand loyalty and concern over providing personal data are apparent.

Sadly, the increase of large-scale data breaches that expose personal information occurs so frequently that consumers have come to expect such failures and have become ‘numb’ to the effects of these breaches. This means they are less motivated to protect themselves, whilst trust erodes between businesses and their customers. This puts consumers at greater risk of identity theft, damaged credit, financial loss and privacy violations.

Evidence in recent surveys shows that ‘data breach fatigue’ does exist, and the fallout is harmful to both consumers and the breached organisations.

Clear contrasting regional behaviours demonstrated in the surveys: the first is that it would appear that US consumers are more regretful than UK that they did not better vet companies regarding their security measures.

The second difference may reinforce the theory of a ‘British stiff upper lip’: UK consumers suppress their negative feelings regarding a breach longer, and take longer (or never return) to brands, compared to US consumers.

Looking at trust in businesses and brands, 55% of UK respondents felt they could trust a local store with their data more than a national company. In contrast, the reverse was true in the US with only 47% of respondents feeling they could trust a local company more than a national chain.

When consumers feel their sensitive data is compromised, the response of the company in assisting them in resolution will provoke an emotional response; and correlate to their feelings of either control or helplessness.

US consumers feel they have more control and recourse after a breach, believing they can act legally and reducing the feeling of helplessness. While UK consumers appear to feel more powerless.

Great customer engagement requires understanding not only of the customer’s values and needs, but also of their culture. To communicate effectively with consumers, speaking the language is not enough; it’s also crucial to understand cultural dialect. If cultural preferences are misunderstood or disregarded, call centres risk offending or alienating the valued customers they are helping to serve.

There are huge challenges for companies that operate international call centres. The navigation of regional differences, language, laws, and cultures are critical while still trying to maintain efficiency and a high standard of customer service across geographic boundaries.

If not trained or educated in multi-cultural consumer awareness, it is likely that consumers may not feel safe in providing data or feel they are being offended or experiencing an inferior level of service.

For comparative insights from the research at a glance, take a look at our infographic.  

The post The emotional impact of data breaches appeared first on PCI Pal.

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Knowledge Centre – PCI Pal authored by Dr. Ellyn Gamberg. Read the original post at:

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