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Making A Comeback: What We Can Learn From Target's Security Breach

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While Target suffered a public relations nightmare when its customers' credit and debit card information was hacked about six months ago, the company has rebounded quite nicely. Sales are back to normal, and most of the stores' regular customers have returned for more shopping. Why? Below, we attempt to explain the phenomenon and give you some tips for helping your own business out of a tight spot.

A Second Chance
Part of the reason why customers have returned to Target stores is the fact that customers and human beings in general, are willing to accept apologies and forgive. Target's CEO apologized in the immediate aftermath of the breach. It meant a lot for the company to admit guilt in a public manner, and send individual messages to each Target shopper. The apology let Target's customer base know they are valued, and also made them cognizant of the fact that the company itself was suffering.

 

Making the Second Time Count

People are willing to give others a second chance in life, as long as the offending party shows some sort of remorse. Not only did Target's CEO apologize, but the store also offered several significant discounts as well as free credit monitoring. For your store you might want to consider what kinds of discounts and deals you can use as an apology when something goes wrong. Even if it is a moderate type of discount, customers will view it as an act of good will towards those who are harmed by your company's negligence. Never underestimate the power of a sincere apology for your company.

A Sign of the Times
Another reason for Target's quick recovery is that people expect data breaches to occur occasionally, especially in such a tech saturated business climate. Security breaches are not unique to Target stores alone. When customers opt to use their credit cards and debit cards instead of cash at a retail outlet, there is an element of risk they are aware of, even if it is subtly just in the back of their minds. Everyone knows cash is nearly foolproof for transactions so there are some customers who don't put the entire blame on Target stores.

 

Evaluating Your Own Risks

When you use up to date technology and security systems in your own company, you have to account for some type of risk. Your customers will shoulder some responsibility as well because they understand that every time they swipe their credit or debit cards, there is the chance that their information will be stolen. In a sense both you and the customer are expecting a certain amount of risk. Many are now taking steps to “own” their own security and use cash instead of cards. For your own company use technology as limited as you can. Only use secure systems and hold everyone responsible for their own risks.

An Excellent Reputation
Target has always been one of the highest rated brands among retail stores. The fact that their data was compromised is very surprising, and most consumers consider it to be an aberration instead of the norm. Target is proactively taking steps towards bolstering their security.

 

One highly suggested solution are the services offered at http://www.globallearningsystems.com/products/ondemand-learning-portal/ that empower organizations to pass audits, and avoid breaches with highly effective compliance solutions here that are easy to use. The fact of the matter is that in some sense you must have a degree of authority. Work to make your company trusted and well respected in it’s market so if anything goes wrong, you can call on an honest history to back you up.

While it is easy to blame Target and boycott the store, most consumers have not taken this route. People, especially Americans, are adamant that everyone deserves a second chance. Since this breach was Target's first major security incident, they have been given the opportunity to bounce back, and the store has done so with grace and success. Use these ideas and examples from Target to bring your brand up to their level of success. No one can predict these kinds of breaches, but you can do what you can now to avoid a huge fallout later.

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Brooke Chaplan

Brooke is a well known author covering topics like online marketing, social media and so on.

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