Target Unauthorized Access to Credit Card Data Will Impact Customer Trust

Target Unauthorized Access to Credit Card Data Will Impact Customer Trust

While no one died (as when someone tampered with Tylenol tablets in the 80s) and the environment was not destroyed (as with the Exxon Valez in the 80s or BP oil spill in 2010), millions of loyal customers and potential Target customers have been impacted by their latest corporate PR nightmare as millions of credit card customers had their personal data inappropriately accessed. During some of the busiest shopping times of the year (November 27-December 15, 2013) someone gained unauthorized access to over 40 million credit files for Target customers who used credit cards to shop in their stores.

Even though no fraud cases have yet to be determined, Target is struggling to get ahead of this potential massive loss. Customers have complained that they are not able to access their online Target accounts or get through on crowded chat and phone lines. Losses could add up significantly for Target as they make their final holiday shopping season push. Like the huge T.J. Maxx lawsuits that followed a similar breach in the past, Target will likely be the focus of a class-action suit that might cost them large payouts. Couple that with potential lost shopping revenue, canceled Target Red credit accounts and a massive hit on trust from customers and potential customers and the company is not likely to have a very merry holiday season…or a good end of the year financial report. In addition, brand and customer loyalty will likely take a big hit into the foreseeable future, depending on how the company manages this situation.

An article on The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch blog has more details about this incident.

Since trust is the key element of any customer-provider relationship, frontline customer service representatives have to be prepared to handle service breakdowns and customer complaints. To get ideas of how you might deal with such situations if your company encounters a crash and you need to initiate service recovery initiatives, get a copy of Customer Service Skills for Success.

About Robert C. Lucas

Bob Lucas has been a trainer, presenter, customer service expert, and adult educator for over four decades. He has written hundreds of articles on training, writing, self-publishing, and workplace learning skills and issues. He is also an award-winning author who has written thirty-seven books on topics such as, writing, relationships, customer service, brain-based learning, and creative training strategies, interpersonal communication, diversity, and supervisory skills. Additionally, he has contributed articles, chapters, and activities to eighteen compilation books. Bob retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1991 after twenty-two years of active and reserve service.

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