Help during a crisis

No matter how well managed your business, things will go wrong.  Whether an ‘act of god’ or human error.  It could be a factory fire, a product recall, a H&S issue, a severe lapse in customer care or any number of other situations.

The days of turning a blind eye and hoping the problem goes away are long gone.  Sadly, your staff, customers, competitors, the media and general public tend to relish a crisis.  All too often, they will fan the flames of someone else’s misfortune.

We can help protect your hard-earned reputation by managing your communications – internally and externally – during a crisis.  What we do can make the difference between your business surviving and flourishing or floundering and failing.

What is a crisis?

A crisis occurs when something unexpected or unplanned happens that has the potential to damage the reputation of your business. Scenarios will differ depending on your sector.

If you are a restaurateur, for instance, it could be an outbreak of food poisoning. If you are a head teacher, it might be inappropriate behaviour by a member of your staff.  If you run a nursing home, it could be death in care.

Other crisis scenarios requiring effective management would include:

  • Natural disaster
  • Manufacturing breakdown
  • Product recall
  • Accident at work
  • Misconduct
  • Systems failure
  • Data breach
  • Strike
  • Customer boycott
  • Duty of care issue
  • Regulatory
  • Fraud or mis-selling

In any of the above situations, you will need to communicate with many different people – thoughtfully, efficiently, appropriately and fast.

Failure to do so could jeopardise the reputation of your business.

 

Why should a crisis be taken seriously?

For many reasons.

Poor communication or refusing to comment at all during a crisis can reflect badly on the management of your business, making you look ill-prepared.  It can lead people to question the robustness and reliability of your business.

This approach can also portray you as having something to hide or simply not caring about the impact on those affected.

 

Who can experience a crisis?

Any type of business could face a crisis.

Apart from the emotional impact on you, a crisis will cause a degree of business disruption and interruption.

 

What should I do if faced with a crisis?

There are lots of things you should do.  Here are a few key ones:

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Gather your senior colleagues together.
  3. Establish the facts.
  4. Prepare holding statements for your website, social media channels, the media, clients, staff.
  5. Agree who your spokesperson will be.
  6. Brief your staff about the situation.
  7. Ensure any queries are put through immediately to your spokesperson.
  8. Have someone keeping a constant watch on the media and your social media channels, responding appropriately.
  9. Once the crisis is over, create a crisis team of trusted colleagues and advisors. Draw up a list of every potential crisis you might face in the future and agree a plan of action. 

Often the temptation is to respond emotionally.  Be aware, knee-jerk responses can inflame a situation.  It might be better for you to appoint crisis communications experts like Reputation Matters to handle things in a calm, efficient and dispassionate way.

 

Who can help me during a crisis?

Depending on the crisis, you will obviously have to turn to people such as IT providers or engineers to deal with the cause and remedy of certain situations.

If you have an internal communications team or PR agency, they might be able to handle the required communications.  However, bear in mind, crisis management is a specialist skill so you might prefer to call in experts like Reputation Matters.

Our support will be tailored to your specific crisis and could see us drafting and issuing any or all of the following: letters, emails, website and social media messages, internal news bulletins, press statements and any other appropriate communications to help ensure you appear in control of the situation.

A crisis requires fast, efficient and decisive communication to reassure those affected and help protect the reputation of you and your business.

We have many years’ experience helping companies of all sizes communicate effectively and efficiently in such situations. With our support, you’ll be free to carry on running your business, knowing all communication bases are covered.

 

Are you prepared for a crisis?

If you aren’t currently facing a crisis, you might want to appoint Reputation Matters to carry out a crisis audit for you. We will work closely with you to identify potential crises your business might face and then create a detailed plan of action. Presented as a bespoke crisis handbook, this will contain a clear action plan, tips for handling press and social media enquiries, a number of prepared holding statements and much more.

Remember, effective crisis management can define or destroy your business. Having the relevant help at hand can save you precious time, resources and reputation.

One of my co-directors was found guilty of drink driving.  I was concerned that if it got out, we’d suffer from negative press and loss of business.  As it happened, there was no backlash but being able to contact you and have some pre-prepared statements and letters ready was reassuring.

My business was facing a torrent of unfair criticism on Facebook.  It stemmed from one negative post by an ex-employee and escalated like wild fire. Your level-headed, practical advice helped get the negative comments removed.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Your calm and steady approach was everything I needed when my business was being unfairly criticised in the national press. You stopped me from responding in haste, which I realise now, was the worst thing I could have done! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I thought the problem would go away if I ignored it. It didn’t. I was reluctant to use you but can honestly say, your support and advice helped pull me back from the brink. Your patience, clarity of thought and advice were just what I needed to get me through the emotional roller coaster.