Six Steps to Handling a Crisis

Your company’s name is in the press, but it’s not associated with a positive image. This could be the start of a crisis. What do you do? Do you hold a press conference? Do you inform the staff? Do you hope the problem just goes away? There are steps you can take in a crisis that will address the issue.iStock_000012457188Small

1.    Preplan: Have a crisis plan before you have a problem. Determine the communication chain of command and the key decision makers. Include key phone and address contacts and have up-to-date cloud-based employee and press materials available to use as templates. Sometimes waiting through the crisis is better than responding to it. You don’t want a small problem to get noticed by the press.

2.    Research:  Depending on the severity of the problem, your company could have a crisis on its hands or create a problem out of nowhere. Find out what caused the crisis or potential issue. Was it a miscommunication, mishandled merchandise, employment problem or just a simple accident? Without conducting your research, you will never know the true cause behind the crisis and it will make your company look incompetent.

3.    Communication: When your company decides it’s a real crisis, it’s important to get everybody on the same page. Hold a meeting with employees and let them know what is going on. At the meeting, you should address the cause of the problem, the severity of the crisis, what your employees should communicate to other people and what you are planning to do.

4.    Solution: Before you communicate anything to the press, your company should have a plan put in place. The plan should include the message of the company, what the company plans to do to fix or prevent the problem and a schedule to notify the press.

5.    The press: Keep communication open with the press in a crisis. No communication with the press makes your company look guilty. Find out what channel would reach most of your customer base and set up a press conference or interview.

6.    Aftermath: After the crisis has died down, your company should still be following through on the plan. Your company promised a solution to the crisis, so it needs to deliver on that guarantee. Don’t shut out your employees, customers or the press. Remember to follow through on your communication as well as your plan.

A crisis can happen at any time to any company. When a crisis does occur, it is a great platform to show customers, employees, and the press how prepared and professional your company can be.

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