It can happen to any business at any time, and when a crisis does loom, how you respond is as important as the crisis itself. It might be a faulty product that urgently needs to be recalled, or a design flaw that suddenly reveals itself after the product is on the shelves, and with that in mind, here are some crisis communication tips to help minimise the damage that a crisis can bring.
- Lever Support – Hopefully, you have a big customer base, and at a time when negative aspects are involved, look for support from your loyal customer base. If a new customer has an issue with a product, a few posts on your social media pages from regular customers who comment on the quality of products they have received is a strong response. It doesn’t change the fact that a customer is unhappy, but it does demonstrate that this is not the norm.
- Rapid Response – While you might not feel like making a statement in a timely manner, the longer you leave it, the worse it could be. It is vital that you have some form of crisis communication planning in place, which is pre-planned and agreed upon. The old saying. “If you don’t tell your story, someone else will” certainly applies in such a scenario. Let’s take an example where a customer has made negative comments on your Facebook page, this needs to be addressed as soon as possible, with careful wording and a desire to resolve the issue in a positive way.
- Put The Customer First – We all know the saying, “the customer is always right”, and when any customer has an issue, your primary objective is to provide a satisfactory solution, and if that means sending a special courier with a replacement, so be it. It is usually best to admit an error, rather than trying to apportion blame, and if you respond in a positive manner, you are demonstrating your desire to resolve the issue. Crisis communication planning helps you to minimise the damage that might arise due to a crisis, and there are specialist crisis management providers who can help you to create a range of strategies and responses to be used in a crisis scenario.
- Consistency Is Essential – When dealing with any form of crisis, it is essential that all communication is consistent across the board, and anything less than this suggests the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. You might have a great business, and have never considered how to respond in the event of a crisis, yet there will come a day when you have to respond to a negative situation, and without planning, the wrong response could make things worse.
It can take many years to build up a solid reputation, yet the digital age means you can lose your hard-earned reputation in a matter of minutes. Bad news travels fast, and with a firm crisis management plan in place, you can minimise the negative impact an unexpected event could cause.