The Worst Time to Think of Crisis Communications

Expect the Unexpected – That’s good advice for everyone in business.  No one can predict the future, so being prepared for whatever comes along just makes good sense.  Part of that preparation is having a crisis communications plan in effect.

Many business owners think a crisis could never happen to them.  They don’t work with dangerous materials, nor are they guardians of sensitive information.  Moreover, they are smart and capable people who don’t do stupid things.

Optimism is a great thing, but preparedness is better.  A good reputation is essential to business success, and a reputation can be tarnished in many ways – sometimes irrevocably and often unfairly.

Not all crises are caused by a company’s management or poor safety practices.  Businesses can be interrupted, and customers lost, by natural disasters, a fire, or a computer system failure; suppliers may have a crisis that affects your company’s ability to provide products; one of your products can be recalled; or you could lose key staff, which affects your ability to provide a certain level of service for a period of time.

Once you are in the middle of a crisis, you realize that it may not only damage your reputation, but could cause you to go out of business.  And this is the worst time to think of ways to handle it because you may not be in the best frame of mind to do so.  Customers may be left in the dark as you work your way through solving your problems, leaving an impression that you just don’t care about their concerns or needs.

This is why an increasing number of businesses are taking crisis communications planning seriously.  A major part of business is communicating with your customers and making sure they know what is going on even in the middle of a serious situation.  Many companies have actually improved their reputations simply by having an effective response.

Here are some initial crisis communication tips from a previous post.

Posted by Margot Dimond

 

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