A lesson in consumer public relations…
You probably heard last week about the massive credit card data breach at Global Payments, Inc., affecting potentially 10 million customers. Data leaks are the new “the dog ate my homework” phenomenon, and of course require solid crisis PR strategies to manage.
If there’s one thing that’s good so far, it’s that Global Payments now estimates that the data breach impacted only about 1.5 million customers. Still, Global Payments shouldn’t assume this lower number somehow mitigates the bottom line, as the company’s stock dropped nearly 14% on news of the data breach.
These ups and downs certainly mean a lot to the Street, but what about the average consumer? Instead of worrying about stock prices, a typical consumer was probably asking themselves, “were my credit cards hacked?”
Too bad Global Payments’ website offers them no information on where they should go, or what they should do. Rather than recommending helpful steps for contacting credit card companies, credit bureaus, or other consumer-protection organizations, Global Payments instead has a technical statement in an eye-splitting font size. The company’s defense of its position clearly hasn’t reassured Visa, which dropped Global Payments as a partner in processing transactions.
Data breaches are a demanding PR dilemma, and require concise, easy to understand messaging to reassure consumers. For all companies trafficking in ecommerce, to avoid a barrage of negative Monday morning headlines, make sure to put the consumer front and center per your PR and communications.