Crisis Communications: How to Navigate without Losing Support

Inevitably, many businesses undergo some sort of mishap or crisis that requires professional handling. This could be as simple as an unhappy customer or as large as a massive product recall.

Crisis communication is an aspect of doing business that many find uncomfortable, but it’s something that must have a defined protocol in order to effectively employ it.

Find a way to put crisis communications into practice before an actual problem occurs. This proactive approach can head off more trouble when a problem arises. Even in the unlikelihood of an actual crisis, preparation is always going to be key.

If and when a crisis situation comes up, having a solid and proven protocol can help keep things from getting worse or snowballing out of control.

Take Ownership and Responsibility

One of the cornerstones of crisis management is the ability to be transparent and take ownership. This, more than almost anything else, has the power to make or break the success of the crisis management protocol.

Why is this so important? Because consumers want transparency. Transparency is perhaps one of the most important factors of crisis management. This enables customers to feel more trusting of the messages put out by the team.

Transparency is a part of the ownership process, showing that the company is willing to make sacrifices to make things right.

Don’t Place Blame

Another factor of crisis management is monitoring the “blame game” that some like to play. Placing blame is not productive in most situations, but particularly when it comes to crisis management.

Similar to taking ownership, it’s important not to throw blame around. Even if the root of the problem came from somewhere else, the question should be asked: does placing blame elsewhere solve the problem?

In most cases, the answer to this question is no. Placing blame won’t be productive in a crisis management situation. Therefore, there is no place for it in a company’s protocol for handling problems.

Always Put Those Affected First

In any crisis, there are almost always victims who are adversely affected by whatever the situation is. Let’s use the example of a manufacturer recall in a common model of car.

In this situation, the “victims” are those who own the cars that have the defect. Some of these defects can be potentially dangerous if left untreated, and sometimes the recall comes after a serious issue has already affected multiple victims.

In these scenarios, it’s important for the company to put these victims first. After all, these are the people who are individually affected by the crisis, and their lives are the most affected in a negative way. Handling a crisis includes finding proper resolution for any and all victims and making sure their needs are met above all else.

By taking these steps and implementing them into the company’s crisis management plan, the potential of fallout and repercussions is greatly reduced. Another important element of crisis management is that practice that can and should be put into it, so that if and when a real crisis does occur there are no questions as to what the first steps should be in managing it.