The internet is a highly accessible and widely used medium through which an e-commerce business conducts commercial activities in the modern world. It provides a convenient, hassle-free way for customers to access products and services from anywhere in the world 24 hours a day. A solid online presence allows e-commerce and traditional businesses to monetize the internet by promoting their brand to a global audience to increase their customer base and boost revenue. Crisis Management Practices
However, the same qualities that allow companies to breach borders also make them vulnerable to cyber, human, and social attacks. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the threats associated with conducting business online and their potential for creating crises.
It is almost impossible to prevent crises altogether, but some key practices and pr crisis methods will help companies prevent, prepare for, contain, recover and learn from them.
1. Customer Relationship Management
Customer satisfaction is paramount to building a strong reputation allowing businesses to retain existing customers and attract new ones. When customers lose trust in a brand, companies usually experience a public relations crisis, especially in today’s digital age. Consumers are highly connected and capable of impacting opinion through social media. The negative publicity can significantly damage the business’s reputation. For this reason, it is essential for e-commerce businesses, in particular, to prioritize efficient and reliable service delivery and excellent customer service. This involves engaging customers to understand their needs, responding promptly and sincerely to complaints and taking responsibility, and providing tangible recourse for service-related issues.
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2. Data/Information Security
Businesses must invest in robust security systems and regular monitoring of online platforms and databases to protect against cyber-attacks. Employers should tighten up controls, review staff training and accountability protocols and policies, and conduct regular systems checks to maintain the integrity of their platforms, especially now when people are forced to work away from the office due to the Coronavirus pandemic and can access sensitive information. Crisis Management Practices
Many organizations, both e-commerce and traditional companies that have established an online presence, offer convenient services like online banking, bill payment, and payment for retail goods, which typically require the use of online money in the form of credit cards. Not only could a cyber-attack or other forms of system failure result in reputational damage to the company, but financial losses to customers if their confidential information is not kept safe. This, in turn, diminishes trust and may result in customers bringing lawsuits against the organization for breach of privacy or personal losses, further exacerbating the financial losses the company could sustain.
It is also important to establish backup servers with in-built redundancies for easy retrieval of data to prevent long periods of downtime should the primary data center experience a significant failure or breach.
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3. Control Access to Online Accounts
Companies must ensure that they properly vet employees who are given access to their social media accounts. Too often, personal opinions posted by unmindful employees on the company profile expose them to business litigation, such as defamation lawsuits, litigation, and spark disputes as other businesses or institutions seek to obtain redress for libelous allegations. Fortunately, experienced lawyers provide specialist services in business and commercial litigation cases that help to protect the business’s interest and reputation. However, preventing these kinds of exposure is always best as, though the services are beneficial, they are also expensive and may still affect consumer confidence. Crisis Management Practices
Every business will experience crises from time to time, but having the necessary infrastructure, controls, and plans to address them in a timely and transparent manner will help solidify a company’s reputation and confirm willingness to live up to customer expectations.