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5 Steps to Take When Your Site Has Been Compromised

Online hacking – it can happen to anyone.  Even Mark Zuckerberg.  Even some of the most established and tech savvy companies.  Online hackers know no limits and are often fueled by the challenge of hacking into a high security system, platform, or account.  And all too often, especially in today’s social age, you don’t realize that your site has been compromised until the flood of complaints, concerns, and backlash floods your social media timelines and fills your customer support emails.

Every business, small or large, should be prepared with a plan of action should they happen to be the victim of online hacking.  The first thing to know is you can’t hide or sweep something like this under the rug.  The speed, accessibility, and instant broadcast of social media don’t allow instances of this magnitude to be hidden or give time for research and resolution without your audience knowing.

So what do you if your site has been compromised?

1)   Identify the issue.

The issue may be something you are immediately aware of or it might take a little research and digging if it’s not instantly clear what the problem is or what is causing it.

2)   Address the issue on your social networks.

Once you’ve identified the issue, immediately address it on your social networks and website.  Often times, consumers and users check social media channels before they even check the website, knowing that online channels allow companies to quickly address a problem or issue. And even if you’re not yet certain what the issue is, let your audience know that you are aware of the situation.

3)   Assure your audience that the issue is being worked on.

Once you’ve identified and addressed the issue, assure your audience that you are working hard to resolve it.  Consumers and users will feel a little more at ease knowing that efforts are being made to resolve the issue.

4)   Find the resolution(s) to the issue.

Now find the answer to the problem! Of course you need to deploy the immediate fix to resolve the issue ASAP, but also dig deeper to find the solution that ensures this issue will not happen again.  Your audience will not only want to know that the issue has been resolved, but they’ll need to be reassured that measures have been put into place to guarantee that this will not happen again.

5)   Along with the resolution(s), offer your audience something.

Now that the issue has been resolved, it’s time to make it up to your audience.  This is an appropriate time to write a blog post or email around the situation where you acknowledge the issue and detail the resolution(s).  Also, this would be a good time to offer a little something extra as a token of your appreciation for their patience and understanding.  Along with a sense of relief that the issue has been resolved and a sense of security that the measures have been put in place to avoid a repeat, this combination will also appease your audience because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a little discount or free gift?

While these steps may seem like common sense, you’d be surprised how many companies might skip one, a few, or all of these steps all together!  There’s nothing that consumers and users hate more than being left in the dark or feeling as though their concerns are not being heard.  These five simple steps can go a long way in customer retention, loyalty, and satisfaction.


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