Every school has an emergency plan to prepare for natural disasters as school officials understand a crisis can strike at any time. Just like schools, your company needs a plan in place to successfully navigate a crisis. Create your company crisis communication plan by starting with these components:
- Assemble a crisis communication team: Your team should include key decision makers, division leaders, legal consultants and public relations employees who can provide valuable knowledge. In some cases, hiring an outside public relations firm that is experienced in crisis communications can bring value to your company. Don’t wait until you have a crisis to start building or hiring. Ensure that you always have immediate and up-to-date contact information to team members and spokespeople as well as around-the-clock access to the plan documents.
- Devise scenarios: By assessing your company’s vulnerabilities, you can create a plan of action. Develop scenarios for product production errors, lawsuits, natural disasters, unfavorable client-reviews, employee scandals, lay-offs, information leaks and inappropriate comments made on your company’s behalf. Doing this will allow your crisis communication team to plan accordingly.
- Designate spokespersons: Training and assigning spokespersons to speak on behalf of the company during a crisis provides your company with consistent communication. Your spokesperson should be well-versed on public speaking etiquette, able to answer difficult questions and be a senior member of the staff.
- Create notification and monitoring systems: Set up an in-house notification system that alerts your employees and major stakeholders of the crisis. Consistently monitor what is being said about your company on social media outlets and other media channels. By monitoring the public’s image of your company, you can diminish a potential crisis before it gets out. There are notification and monitoring systems available to streamline this process.
- Be ready for the press: If the media is pressing for an immediate reaction, have as much information as possible and assure the press that you are working on the situation. Promise action and openly communicate with the press when new information becomes available.
The way your company handles itself during a crisis is important. You want clients to know that your company can address any unfavorable situation with integrity, honesty and humility.