No one expects to get a call that puts their organization’s future in jeopardy—but things go wrong, incorrect information can go viral and the reputation of your brand can be at risk in a matter of minutes. In these situations, failing to plan is planning to fail. Especially for businesses that face intense scrutiny, things can escalate quickly.
One of the best things business owners can do is develop a solid crisis communications plan before crises arise, especially as we approach the busy holiday season.
Not sure if crisis planning is worth your time? Here are five reasons crisis preparedness should move to the top of your to-do list.
Team member clarity and empowerment
Your team is your front line for crises. They will likely be the people interacting directly with angry customers or fielding upset calls or emails. When negative feedback comes through—especially if it’s from more than one customer—staff need to know what to do.
Defining the escalation process and making it as easy as possible for team members will aid them in making quick decisions and avoiding communication delays.
Plus, a clear crisis plan will empower your staff to be advocates for your business. They’ll know you trust them to handle a crisis as outlined, which will set them up for success down the line.
Happier customers and clients
A defined crisis plan can lead to faster response times, allowing your team to more quickly and easily “make the situation right” by offering the appropriate discount or other form of reparation that makes sense for your business.
Generally speaking, a faster crisis response time leads to less upset patrons and allows you to better control the narrative.
Improved buyer trust
We always encourage our clients to employ transparency when dealing with a crisis, because honesty often leads to empathy.
A crisis communications plan that outlines the way you respond will result in better, more sincere statements. Guidelines for brand voice will help you develop statements that are written in a professional manner and not driven by emotion.
Ultimately, crises that are handled swiftly and professionally by all members of the team can actually build customer loyalty and trust. Your customers will be able to sense the authenticity of your response.
Time to prepare
No comment is the worst comment, but a prepared statement is far better than a thrown-together paragraph.
Crisis planning gives you time to craft statements for the most likely scenarios and share them with team members for review. Even if you need to adjust the details in the moment, a prepared set of statements will allow you to eloquently share your side of the story at a moment’s notice.
Peace of mind
When it comes to crisis communications, there’s no such thing as being too prepared. In the best-case scenario, you’ll never have to use the prepared crisis materials. But if you do, you can rest easy knowing you’re ready for the worst.
Need some help developing your crisis plan? Our team has decades of combined experience handling communications crises. Read about some of our past crisis communications work here, and learn more about our other services here.