7 steps to help cope with a business crisis
How to communicate with the press and customers in a difficult situation, use social media and learn from problems.
Most companies sooner or later encounter a problem situation. It can be a series of bad reviews, the release of a defective product, or a scandal with management. Such incidents can severely damage the company’s reputation. But do not panic: acting competently, you will cope with the crisis and keep customers, improving the productivity of the business.
1. Designate a response team.
The organization needs to respond quickly and speak with “one voice.” If different employees give public comments, it will only confuse things for outside observers. Determine who will handle customer feedback and who will talk to the press. Make all employees aware of this. That way, people will know who to direct their requests to, and who to ask for comments. This will save you time and nerves that would have to be spent explaining unofficial statements.
Share detailed information regarding the crisis only with the response team and company spokesperson. If any technicalities need to be explained to the press, designate someone knowledgeable about the issue to be the spokesperson.
2. Identify the affected parties and contact them
This could be your customers, investors, or other stakeholders.
Let’s say there is a problem with your product. In that case, your customers need to be told why this happened and how you will fix the situation. For example, return the money for the purchase, exchange the defective product, or pay compensation for the inconvenience. If products contaminated with hazardous substances are on sale, explain how to dispose of them properly.
People may forgive and forget the mistake, but they won’t forget how you behaved in a crisis.
The sooner you apologize and admit your mistake, the sooner you can be forgiven. And the sooner you deal with the problem, the sooner you will stop getting mud on social media.
3. Formulate an official message
State only the facts – no speculation, guesswork, or speculation. If you have doubts about what you can and cannot say, consult a lawyer. Don’t withhold information, or it will backfire on you later. There is a good chance that the press will uncover it, and this will further damage your reputation.
4. Use social media correctly
Try to reassure your audience, don’t add fuel to the fire. Use an approach that is based on three principles:
- Listening. Follow the discussions in your groups and mentions of your brand. Listen to opinions.
- Engagement. Participate in discussions. If only to say, “We hear you and appreciate your feedback.
- Transparency. Never delete comments with criticism, it won’t do any good.
Total silence on your part will only fuel arguments. As much as you’d like to postpone explaining until you have full information about what happened, don’t do it. Even a simple assurance that you are aware of the problem and are working to resolve it will help. That way you show you are in control of the situation.
5. Listen carefully to what people say about you
Naturally, listening to criticism is unpleasant, but that is what you need to do now. Resolving a crisis is like a ticklish negotiation (only in this case you are trying to negotiate with a faceless, nameless group of people). And the first principle of negotiation is to listen carefully to your interlocutor.
Sometimes to turn an irritated client into a satisfied one, it’s enough to show consideration and apologize. And sometimes you just need to listen to the person. It is quite possible that in this way you will be able to prevent clients from fleeing.
6. Keep track of developments
It is very important to assess how much your brand is affected. A company runs the risk of losing about 20% of potential customers if there is even one negative mention of it on the first page of search results. Understanding what others are saying about you is a key component of rebuilding your reputation after a crisis.
So check review sites and social media for negative content. Monitor keywords related to your brand. See what competitors and Influencers are writing. This will help you quickly uncover new questions and concerns and resolve them quickly.
7. Learn a lesson from the situation
When the crisis has passed, analyze your actions. See how well your team handled the situation. Discuss what could have been done differently. Decide what needs to be changed to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
7 steps to help cope with a business crisis