In the world of PR, crises are inevitable but there are ways you can counter these problems to ensure that you come out on top.
When handled the right way, an outstanding crisis response can repair lost trust, diminish scepticism and bolster an organisation’s image. Here’s how.
Inform your employees first
Your employees should always be the first to know, especially if it involves them. You don’t want your colleagues to learn about the crisis in the media, before they hear it directly from you.
There are many ways communications pros can share crucial information in relation to an ongoing crisis. These include newsletter announcements, intranet or other internal social media channels and meetings with the company.
Letting your employees know what’s going on doesn’t require a longwinded explanation. As long as you are sincere, you can relay it as quickly and as efficiently as you like. Transparency is key because the more at ease your employees are, the better your brand image will come across.
Drop the corporate apology
When you are trying to resolve the issue, don’t be insincere. Admit it, fix it and move on!
Standardised corporate apologies can be more infuriating. Sometimes the most effective treatment is to drop the justification, own up and say sorry. People often ruin their apologies with excuses, so take accountability and be implicitly honest.
The only statements that should accompany your apology should be your plan to remedy the issue and the emphasis on your commitment to doing so. If you fail to do this, your apology may sound empty and meaningless.
Tread carefully online
The proliferation of social media in today’s society has accelerated the delivery of news significantly and enhances accessibility to consumers and stakeholders.
Whilst this can be a powerful tool, it can also exacerbate a crisis, when a mistake or negative situation goes viral.
Though it can be tempting to switch off your notifications and ride out the storm, interacting with furious customers can go a long way in repairing your reputation. To effectively communicate with outraged social media users, listen — and try to avoid escalating already heightened emotions.
Try your best to defuse the situation by staying composed and responding in a professional and sympathetic manner, whilst offering a solution to the problem at hand.
If you stick to just two responses on public channels, you’ll appear responsive and respectful and avoid coming across petty or argumentative. Keep in mind that you are the face of a company, not an individual, so don’t shed a negative light on the brand you are representing.
With that said, it is also important you display a human touch and don’t come across to corporate or robotic.
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