It seems that the British public can’t go a mere month without another scandal hitting the headlines. This week we’re delving into the latest financial breach at the expense of British Airways and their customers, as we investigate how (and if) one of the nation’s most iconic brands can recover from such a highly publicised scandal.
The British Airways data breach has affected a staggering 380,000 customers who used credit and debit cards to purchase flights over the last month – both on the company’s website and mobile app (Yikes!). The hackers reportedly infiltrated BA’s data on August 21st and covered a three week period until September 5th…
It’s worth saying at this point that BA did not release a statement until September 7th, a whole two days after they became aware of the issue…
Hmm. We know that in these situations, acting fast and transparently is crucial in order to maintain ongoing customer faith.
In a quest not to get too technical, the hackers in this breach have highlighted a severe problem for the airline. The breach stole CVV codes from customers (those three digits on the back of your card needed to make online purchases) – the storing of which is highly prohibited by the PCI Security Standards Council. In a statement, British Airways have insisted they don’t store these details, yet, hackers seem to have acquired these numbers. How? British Airways have not supplied an explanation.
So, in response to a scandal that can often feel highly intrusive and personal to customers, how will BA survive this latest threat, when the brand is arguably already at risk of losing custom from cheaper (and more customer-focused) airlines?
As the British public roll their eyes at yet another BA scandal (remember last year’s IT meltdown) will this be the final nail in the airline’s coffin?
The 7th of September saw the brand’s attempt at damage control by running full-page ads in the nation’s most widely read newspapers, apologising for the breach and information for customers that have been affected. We’re not sure those 380,000 customers will feel quite as forgiving as the brand is hoping by an impersonal, email and print-based ad.
BA has been advising affected customers to contact their banks. Are other brands doing a better job handling this scandal than those at the heart of it? Monzo, a startup based in London that provides an alternative way of banking contacted all potentially affected customers within hours of the news going public and issued replacement cards, informing customers they were able to freeze all payment cards on their app. Monzo also published their own guide and advice on dealing with the issue – this is something BA customers have had to ask for.
We know who we’re rating in this situation!
We know that in the current market, reputation is everything, and we’re eager to see how the British Airways marketing team plan to hold on to the final strings of the brand’s standing in the industry.
Yes, BA has done what they technically can since news of the breach broke (give or take a few days), but as of yet, we’ve seen no real steps taken to ensure customers that British Airways is the remaining choice for quality flights.
Let’s watch this space.