After the year+ we’ve all faced, one thing we’ve realized is that a crisis can hit at any time. In fact, it’s not so much a matter of if a crisis will happen, but when one will occur. And because of that, the best way to be prepared for the unexpected is to have a crisis communications plan in place. We’ve put together the following crisis communications checklist containing 8 tips to help ensure your business is prepared for when things go wrong.
- Determine the crisis – Before responding to the crisis, make sure you have identified the 5 W’s – who, what, when, where, and why. By fully understanding the issue at hand, you will be able to rationally determine the next steps.
- Alert all pertinent parties involved – Make sure everyone is alerted to the situation including impacted partners, vendors, etc. Most importantly, make sure your internal team is in full communication with each other. Don’t leave anyone out and lay out all of the facts so everyone is on the same page.
- Develop and issue an initial statement – Responding to a crisis in a timely manner is really important. While you gather your facts and your solutions to the issues at hand, consider issuing an initial statement. This statement can simply recognize the problem, tell your audience that you’re aware of the issue and that you’re diligently working to find solutions. In other words, it buys you a little more time to “fix” the situation.
- Track any and all media coverage – If this is a big crisis, make sure you’re monitoring the news. Track what stories are breaking and what people are saying about your business on the internet. The more information you have about what coverage you’re receiving the better you’ll be able to respond.
- Show that you’re human and that you care – Humans make mistakes, and coming from a place of compassion is not overlooked. It’s important to recognize the error, apologize first and then offer solutions.
- Identify your spokesperson – Who is the person that should be the face of your business during a crisis? Is it the President, the CEO, the marketing director? Who can speak well and handle the pressure so that your brand is represented in a calm and professional way?
- Plan your response – Decide the best avenues to take in order to issue your response. This can be a combination of mediums from television, radio, print, digital, and social media platforms. How will you acknowledge the issue and reach the most people quickly? Consider holding a press conference if needed.
- Direct people to up-to-date contact information – Be sure to offer your impacted customers a way to contact you. And then make sure your team is fully monitoring these avenues and offering to help. You may need to delegate more man-hours to customer service during a crisis.
Once all is said and done, be sure to look back and learn/evaluate the crisis. Put procedures in place to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen twice. Evaluate your response and make improvements for next time. Follow our crisis communications checklist to get your business prepared for the unexpected.
If your business needs help with crisis communication management/planning strategy, we are here for you. In our decade’s worth of experience, we have been able to help our clients navigate a crisis and turn negative situations around. Contact us today.