Cyberattacks and data breaches are not only common, they’re expected. But as these unfortunate events occur over and over, does that make them any more forgivable? Not really. But there are measures organizations can take to prevent customer defection. 

A survey conducted by PwC reveals that consumers’ faith in organizations keeping their private data safe is eroding. Not only that, the majority are willing to take their transactions elsewhere if the companies they do business with can’t be trusted.

“According to a survey we conducted at PwC, only 25% of consumers believe companies handle their personal information responsibly and 87% will take their business to a competitor if they don’t trust a company to handle their data responsibly,” writes Matthew Lieberman, Advisory Marketing Leader at PwC, in Forbes.

Lieberman asserts that we’re living in a reality where more people believe they are more likely to be hacked via email or social media than that their flight will get canceled or that they will get in a car accident.

With GDPR about to be implemented and other legislation in the works, businesses will certainly be more accountable for how data is handled. Meanwhile, Gartner forecasts worldwide security spending to reach $96 billion. The analyst firm also predicts that by 2020, “more than 60 percent of organizations will invest in multiple data security tools such as data loss prevention, encryption and data-centric audit and protections tools, up from approximately 35 percent today.”

As companies better equip themselves for handling and preventing cyberattacks, customers’ faith may be restored. Beyond that, Lieberman also suggests the following measures:

• Compensating victims in accordance with the severity of the breach.

• Providing detailed information about the breach. Send constant and consistent updates via email and social media as details become available.

• Reaffirming the company privacy policy in a clear message, like republishing policies in paid advertising.

• Communicating real-time updates including how the issue is being resolved and expected timing. This can be accomplished by sending out media alerts whenever a change occurs.

• Making improvements to their systems to avoid future breaches, such as hiring consultants to test patches and other upgrades, and communicating these steps externally.

• Offering complimentary security services to ensure customer data is safe, e.g., offering ongoing credit bureau monitoring.

• Sharing information regarding safety standards for emerging technology products and services, for example, highlighting increased risks for new connected devices.

• Making the consumer feel that they have control over their personal information and how it can be managed post-breach. This can be done by having consumers re-confirm their preferences once the breach is remedied.

Read more about customer retention at Forbes.