(Guest Blog)

By: Connie Moore
Senior Vice President, Research
Digital Clarity Group

** Part 2 in a two-part series. View Part 1 here.

The Fortress Versus the Customer Experience Concierge

One of the very real problems organizations face day in and day out is the compartmentalization that results from operating with functional silos throughout the org.  This can lead to senior-most leaders working on separately thorny issues that are highly related, but no one sees the connection.  And worse, senior-most leaders often work at cross-purposes as they double down on resolving their thorny issue. In the case of customer experience management and cybersecurity, the organization may evolve into one of these two models, or even have a combination of the two in difference pockets of the enterprise:

  •  The fortress enterprise, bristling with armaments from top to bottom, daring an intruder to not even think about breaking it. These organizations think security and cybersecurity first, second and third before anything else. They may be so secure—as are some U.S. government agencies—that mobile PC usage is severely restricted and the only mobile phones allowed for business are Blackberrys. These companies, often in insurance or financial services, take pride in the fact they have never been breached but are also paranoid that they are just one digital risk away from a disaster.  Needless to say, customer service is not of paramount concern to these execs while digital risk management is moving to the forefront.
  • The concierge enterprise has built its entire reputation upon delivering customer expectations before the customer even realizes they want something. These organizations go beyond the normal cheerful customer service representative; they use analytics, common sense and pattern matching to figure out what customers need and want at all times. It’s a little like flying Emirates Airlines: in the busy Dubai club for business class flights, someone with a silver platter may come up to you, address you buy name and provide a message—and you could swear that no one in that room had your name, so how on earth did they find you? Or, to continue with this example, you are on the plane and a flight attendant comes to you just before you press the button, and provides an extra blanket, just like you were going to ask for.  How do they do that?  But they do. Are they mind-readers?  You can bet the C-suite execs in these companies spend their days dreaming up ways to anticipate and delight the customer.  Security breaches and digital risk management are light years from their thoughts.

It’s a Dark World, Pollyanna, But Customers Have Expectations Too

Although customer experience execs will find cybersecurity daunting, and security experts may find customer experience frivolous, the two worlds must come together to protect the enterprise’ financial security and global ranking.  Face it—it’s a dark world Pollyanna and everyone needs to understand the risks.  But customers have enormous expectations and they have to be met. It’s a tall order, but companies must plan for, and operate as both a fortress and a concierge. This means:

  • The CMO, Chief of Customer Experience, customer-facing lines of business executives, Digital Risk Officers, Security Officers and CIOs must get to know one another and share their top business initiatives in cybersecurity and great customer experience, even if they seem worlds apart.
  • The organization must work to strategically combine initiatives in the two areas, prioritizing key efforts, finding areas of overlap and looking to see if any of them can be integrated.
  • The organization must monitor future breaches around the globe to see if CX was a trigger point for the break, or was involved in any way. Then, apply those lessons learned to the enterprise at large.
  • The organization should consider digital risk management as a platform for collaboration across departments with the goal of identifying vulnerabilities and quantifying impact on customer experience.

If there is a security or privacy breech compelling the company to urgently reach out to customers, the organization needs to put on its customer experience persona when crafting and delivering those communications.  Getting a letter from a company saying a customer’s data has been hacked is truly one of those horrifying “moments of truth” that customer experience specialists are always talking about.  The first, second or even third thought the customer has is “I need to close my account, change companies and never buy from this organization again.”  A letter communicating about a breech needs a deft touch, and the outreach effort really calls for the CMO to help the security professionals develop a comprehensive communications plan.

The key questions companies must ask and answer are:

  • Does focusing on unparalleled customer experience (like mobile watches or wearables) increase cybersecurity and digital risk? How? What are some examples?
  • If so, is there a way to design customer experience management to be more secure and still provide a great experience?
  • Is there a happy medium, or does an organization always have to pick one to focus on?

These and other questions are ripe for significantly more research and dialog between specialists in the two fields. The Digital Risk Management Institute is one organization seeking to provide answers by offering a clear path of best practices for benchmarking and methodologies, for scoring vulnerabilities and for quantifying a wide range of digital risks to an organization, including those that impact customer experience.