Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you — Joseph Heller, “Catch-22”
As a business owner, you sometimes smile at how scared people can be about transacting business online. You know your system, and you know it is safe. But when you consider the revenue you are missing from potential customers — those who abandon shopping carts or otherwise turn away from your website because of (hopefully) unfounded fear — that smile turns into a frown.
Put yourself in their shoes
Think back to the first purchase you ever made online. Do you recall how nervous you were about giving out your banking or credit card information? Did you anxiously check your account for months, watching for any spurious activity? Most consumers enter the world of online shopping with more than a little trepidation. Over time, though, the fear ease and going to the store without leaving home becomes a regular occurrence.
Then, they hear the stories …
Stealing more than your money
A convicted felon ran up over $100,000 of debt on credit cards in someone else’s name. He took out a federal home loan, purchased firearms, and bought motorcycles. Then, to add insult to injury, he called his victim on the phone and bragged about it. The beleaguered target spend thousands of dollars salvaging his name and credit. The perpetrator avoided prosecution.
It was that true scenario that led to the establishment of identity theft laws in 1998. But while the laws have stiffened, the crimes haven’t stopped. Consumers now hear regularly about what has come to be known as “Cybercrime.”
And the fear has returned.
How to ease customer fears about Cybercrime
Follow this simple three-step plan to ease customer fears. Turn the table on those who would chase your customers away. A 2013 Norton Report reports cybercrime is costing businesses and consumers $113 billion per year. Take action now to lessen the chance that your website and customers will be the next target.
Awareness: By recognizing the danger and admitting it to your customers, you take a giant step forward. Don’t try to hide behind a cloak of badges and grandiose statements that make it appear your website is imperious to attack. It is not. Rather, direct your customers to ways they can protect themselves against identity theft and steps they can take to partner with you and defeat the criminals. Simple things like creating an using strong passwords, keeping software updated, and learning to spot scams can greatly reduce your customers’ risks AND their fears. Help them learn basic online self-defense.
Technical: You know it can happen. If cybercriminals can extract personal data from online businesses like Zappos and eBay, it stands to reason your site isn’t bulletproof. If you aren’t up-to-date on ecommerce security, then hire someone who can help. This is not an area to cut corners. Lax security can even put you at risk of lawsuits when an incident does occur.
Advantage: Once you have surveyed your own risk, designate ways to get your customers involved in the process, and set up a securely locked and monitored process for cybercrime defense. Then brag about it. Today’s shoppers know what is going on. They hear about every new incident. When you admit the danger and line up against it, they trust you. No more whistling in the dark, hoping nothing will go awry.
If you own a corner grocery store, you don’t want undesirables hanging out at the front door accosting your customers. The same is true online. By being forthright with your customers and potential customers, then setting a guard at the door, your store will be one they won’t be afraid to enter, nor will they be afraid to shop there.
Then, they will tell their friends about it.