Top Crisis Communications Strategies
The last thing you want to run into is a crisis. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to avoid them forever. They are bound to happen but it doesn’t have to be a disaster. Crises can be handled if you’re prepared. Crisis communications strategies and contingency plans can be extremely time-consuming to make but they are one hundred percent worth it. When a crisis comes and you have no plan to deal with it, the time and money lost are a lot greater than what it takes to prepare.
The most important thing is to be prepared for anything. Details are everything. Know whom you’re going to call and what you’re going to say. It’s a good idea to put together a strong, level-headed crisis team to bring together when you need them. Having good relationships with the media can also help in a time of crisis. If you are on a personal relationship with media professionals that you can count on, they can be the people you call on for help when you need them. It’s more likely that they will act fast and come to your aid then if they don’t know you and your business.
Even before you have all the facts, you need to be on top of it. Send out a holding message that lets your public know that you are aware of the problem and you are handling it. It may take a while before everything is uncovered, but your customers need to know that you are doing what you can. The longer you take to react publicly, the easier you make it for rumors to grow and spread. It’s important to do what you can to stop speculation and the main thing you can do for that is to confront what’s going on.
The last thing you should do is try to cover-up the crisis. You may feel that an admission of fault will have a negative effect on your business’ image, but anything is better than being caught in a lie. You will be found out eventually and the fallout from that will be much bigger than if you take responsibility. No one likes a liar, but most can respect an honest person who made a mistake and owned up to it. Cover-ups and deceit tactics will only hurt the relationships you have formed.
Stay calm and in control
Acting irrationally and jumping to conclusions will only make the issue worse. Keep a cool head and let everyone know you are in control. Not only will it show everyone that you are capable of handling problems, which is good for the future of your business, but it also keeps you from doing anything rash and without thinking it through. Be calm. Be collected. And be transparent. The more you tell the public, the more they will trust you and your ability to keep things under control.
Be prepared for follow-up
Crisis communications don’t end with the crisis. You cannot wash your hands of it and move on without thinking about it ever again, and you shouldn’t anyway. Mistakes and hiccups are things to learn from. Their chances to see where we went wrong and how to do better. So even if the media and the public didn’t want to get occasional updates on how your faring post-crisis, which they will, you should keep yourself updated and always think back on the issue and how it could’ve gone better and even how it could’ve been worse.
Crises don’t have to be the end of the world or your business. They are bound to happen and if handled well, can be great ways to learn and grow. It’s important to breathe, stay calm and follow your plan. Hopefully, these tips will help you keep going when the inevitable bumps in the road come up. It will be okay.