It’s not something you want to think about but it’s much worse if you’re not prepared. And in fact, with the right support and actions, a crisis can be turned into a positive PR opportunity. But if not dealt with correctly, it can permanently damage your business’s good reputation and all that you’ve worked so hard to build.
In the event of a crisis it’s important to react quickly and be honest – even if there’s a limit to what you can say. Try and be proactive and don’t just ignore media calls – if they can’t get what they want from you they’ll simply dig elsewhere and, let’s face it, with social media today there are a lot of places that can offer information and then the story’s out of your control.
You need to take control immediately and that means being prepared. You can’t have a statement ready for every possible situation but it’s very useful to work through potential scenarios to discuss what could happen and how best to respond. However, more important than working through various responses is having an agreed process in place that kicks in in the event of any crisis and ensuring that every employee’s aware of the drill.
If something out of the ordinary happens at work, what is your employees’ initial reaction? If interesting enough, it may well be that their first instinct is to tell their friends about it on social media. And this is where an issue can turn into something much bigger. This is also the first place a journalist will search if they get the whiff of a potential crisis, so in order to remain in control of all communications and minimise any gossip, employee buy-in to plans is a critical step.
It’s also important that media phone calls and emails are directed to the right person. This is so that information provided to the press is consistent, measured and, most importantly, honest. If there has been a problem and the company is in any way responsible, the first thing to do is to recognise that you understand the nature of the problem and your role in it. By taking this stance and saying that you’re now investigating, you buy yourself some time to work out exactly what’s happened and what you’ll do to resolve it. You can then follow with a proactive statement summarising these steps.
We offer a great deal of experience of dealing with situations, from customer complaints and staff misbehaviour to systems breaking down. In the event of a crisis, we also offer a 24/7 press office as needed to act as the first point of contact.