What Is Crisis Communication?
“Crisis communication is a sub-specialty of the public relations profession that is designed to protect and defend an individual, company, or organization facing a public challenge to its reputation.” –Wikipedia
When something unexpected happens and affects the success of your company, PR professionals step in. While emphasizing transparency, honesty, and acknowledging any customer concerns, crisis communication also includes taking preventative measures for future crises.
Crises come in all different forms. A few crises companies may face:
- Labor troubles
- Product recalls
- Workplace harassment
- Poor customer service
A negative review on social media or a hate comment doesn’t qualify as a crisis. An issue becomes a crisis only when it affects/hinders workflow or harms the brand’s reputation. Media monitoring is incredibly important for this reason. In order for your company to maintain a positive reputation, knowing how customers see your brand is vital. According to TalkWalker.com, “Don’t stop monitoring. Running sentiment analysis during a crisis will determine how your customers, influencers, prospects, and your industry are reacting. How they’re reacting will carry significant weight and if negative, could harm your brand.” By keeping a close eye on social media conversations about your company, you may be able to prevent a crisis before it even occurs.
Online Presence and Preventing Crises
Company employees should adhere to strict social media guidelines. Everything and anything posted by your company will be viewed, shared, and criticized, so its important to establish what is and isn’t okay to share. Social media blunders are all too common these days, but they’re easy to avoid by proofreading and simply double-checking to make sure nothing has been shared that shouldn’t be.
In the Midst of a Crisis
If a crisis does occur, it’s important to take action as quickly as possible. The company’s CEO, marketing team and HR should all be involved, and one of the first steps is to identify who will speak to the media and answer questions on behalf of the company. According to TalkWalker, these are the most important guidelines to follow in dealing with a crisis:
Taking responsibility for the issue is crucial. According to Forbes, “In today’s real-time world of social media, and with critics everywhere, reputation management matters more than ever and it can be lost in an instant. The tenets of any crisis communication are to be proactive, be transparent, and be accountable. When put into action it looks like this: acknowledge the incident, accept responsibility, and apologize.”
Before taking any action, issuing a public apology takes precedence. In doing this, it’s important for companies to remain human in how they react. “Saying ‘you’ll look into it’ doesn’t make anyone feel better. Saying you’re deeply saddened by what went down and will work on making things better is important,” says Forbes. Another important note: NEVER go silent on social media about what’s going on.
Working to understand the situation, listening to customer concerns, then responding accordingly = effective crisis communication.
AM:PM PR offers crisis communication services! Find out more information here.