Terror Filled Tales of Customer Service – (Part I)

Customer Service lessons learned from the Equifax breach

We all heard the tale and hoped it was just urban lore or fake news, but the Equifax security breach was real. After hearing the news, everyone felt the creeping chill of vulnerability and helplessness as we all scanned for signs that we could be prey to identity theft or scams. Equifax confirmed the security breach compromised sensitive data like birthday’s, social security numbers, and account information of 145.5 million US customers. The highly debated topic raised a lot of questions since Equifax announced on September 7th.

We at Quiq, who built the leading asynchronous platform for business messaging, continue to watch the story unfold. In a two-part series, we explore the data breach that recently rocked the news and attempt to find learnings and insights. Gather ’round as we share this spine-tingling tale and the value-added opportunities that exist for any company that wants to advance their customer service experience.

In the case of Equifax, there was indeed an opportunity for a sense of urgency. The credit reporting agency revealed the data breach in September, approximately 40 days after the cyber attack, leading many to question why there was such a delay. Some even report that Equifax was aware of the vulnerability that led to the breach as early as two months before the data breach occurred. We want to get immediate answers to questions or updates on situations in this age of instant digital gratification.

Web Chat Provides Immediate Customer Service

In response to their announcement, Equifax created a website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to help consumers answer the one question that everyone wanted answered: “Am I affected?”. The response website was a self-serve customer service option to help people take some immediate action.

Once consumers entered their information, the follow-up page gave them the option to click to an FAQ page. While the gravity of the situation likely spawned lots of questions, many of the site’s users wanted answers that were relevant and specific to them and their data. Some consumers found the message confusing and wanted definitive answers.

Customer service response to Equifax Security Breach The Equifax Security Breach service page left some customers wanting more definitive answers.[/caption]

Quiq’s Web Chat could have provided consumers a place to chat live with an Equifax Customer Service agent to help guide them through the process at this critical point. We see a lot of companies use this powerful tool to help guide customers when they need it the most, like when they find themselves stuck on a page with questions needing more direction.

Text Messaging Snippets Ensure Consistency

Sadly, the well-intentioned effort of setting up a response site also paved the way to another customer experience snafu. TheVerge reports how Equifax mistakenly mistyped the URL as www.sercuirtyequifax2017.com.  The tweet sent visitors to a phishing site set up by developer Nick Sweeting to expose the vulnerabilities of the Equifax response page.

Quiq recognizes the need for agents to quickly and accurately share helpful, repetitive information to avoid situations like this. We have the ability to use “snippets”, or pre-populated content. Snippets are easy to create, organize, find, and use to ensure consistency and expedite communication.

Increase Service Speed with Outbound Notifications

While the response website was a great resource, it could not deflect the onslaught of calls the company received.  Concerned consumers wondered if they would be responsible for charges they didn’t make. This type of crisis control is where a readied front line of knowledgeable customer service agents shines; but therein lies the rub. A Fast Company article details how customer service agents that took calls on the day of the announcement had not yet learned of the breach and were unprepared to answer questions about the event.

Quiq can send outbound messages that make alerting employees, partners, and customers easy and fast. With our outbound messaging service, Equifax could have informed everyone, including all of the front-line service agents, in an instant.  In addition to the news an outbound message could provide helpful resources to help agents deal with the calls.

Sure, there are plenty of cringe-worthy moments in this tale, but there are lessons to be learned. While this story is extreme, we see real opportunity from crisis mode to the day-to-day status quo to elevate customer service. We invite you to learn more about how Quiq Messaging can help your company come out of the dark (ages) of customer service and into the light of messaging for business.

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