Img source: npr.org

Is taking advantage of your competition’s data breach a shady business practice? Absolutely not! In fact, it’s a golden opportunity that you would be foolish not to capitalize on. However, going about it the wrong way can easily blow up in your face. Everything you do needs to be strategic and tactful. Every industry is different, but here are the steps that you should follow.

Make Sure Your Own Network is Secure

First of all, you obviously need to confirm that you were not compromised by the same hacker that attacked your competition. Next, you need to make sure that your network can’t be hacked in the exact same way by someone else. You may need to revisit your current data storage and upgrade to a new tier. If you’re currently considering an upgrade to a more secure tier, we invite you to click here to learn more about your options.

This attack may have shed some light on some very real security vulnerabilities in your own infrastructure. If this is the case, you need to address them right away. You essentially got a free pass, so don’t waste it. You also need to make sure that you haven’t been hacked without knowing it. Unfortunately, it can take an average of 100 days for business owners to realize they’ve experienced a data breach.

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Img source: securitymagazine.com

Prepare Your Own Communication

You’re not going to demonstrably cherry-pick customers out of your competitions angry social interactions. That means you’re not going to go so far as to comment on irate customer posts on your competition’s Facebook page. That may reflect poorly on you and your brand. You are, however, going to set yourself up to be optimally ready for when those dissatisfied customers come to you. And they will.

The most logical place to start is to work with your IT staff to prepare documents that describe what happened to your competition, and why it won’t happen to you. These materials should contain specific technical information for the more tech-savvy customers who will be looking for it. Now, distribute this literature to your sales and customer service team. Your customer service team will need it for when existing customers ask you about, “What happened to so-and-so and how can we be confident it won’t happen to us?” Your sales team will need to address a would-be customer’s security concerns.

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Img source: paymentsjournal.com

You need to ensure that this communication is streamlined and centrally available, as well as approved by the higher levels of your organization. That way, you can ensure that your sales and customer service team is completely in line with what you should be saying, without overpromising.  You can’t promise that your network is bulletproof from hackers and completely impenetrable. That’s not realistic or accurate. You can, however, say what you are doing to protect customer data at all times.

There is a considerable difference between taking advantage of an opportunity and being perceived as opportunistic. You don’t want to come across as though you are kicking the competition while they are down, or trying to poach their clients.  Again, it’s important to realize that their dissatisfied customers will come to you. You don’t have to chase them. The key is being properly prepared for when they do approach you and ask you why you are better and safer.

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