Today’s digital age has caused the expansion of Crisis Management Services within the business arena. The fast-paced nature of the internet means an opinion or a negative comment can go viral and effect your company image within minutes.
While this is focused on online security, the theory behind Crisis Management is the same:
1. Listen to the situation – what is the crisis that is about to occur? Are you ignoring a sitution that is about to spiral out of control? In the online sphere it is possible to use social listening tools to pick up anything that is being said about you as a company. Through these means you are able to see if there is any negativity that needs to be mitigated. This is closely linked to online reputation management and is vitally important
2. Be Transparent and realistic to your employees and customers – This means making it public knowledge as to your
Crisis Management Plans and processes in place. This will increase customer loyalty and engagement and ensure that your employees know what they are doing at what time.
3. Response is key – how you respond in the first few minutes or hours is critical to the outcome. In most situations the results of crises can be mitigated if certain actions are taken immediatley. Obviously a financial crisis or natural disaster involves different circumstances, but in other times of crises immediate actions can more often than not revert the crisis away from yourselves
4. NEVER lose your temper with your employees or customers in times of crisis – your management needs to appear in
control of the situation. Indeed leadership is key in times of crisis and failure on the leadership’s part may cause havoc in the flanks below
5. Hire a Crisis Management Consultant to advise you and put in place clear planning to ensure you are ready for any crisis that may occur!
‘Crisis’ more often than not refers to a life-changing event in the real world. In the business world it’s definition can range to a variety of disruptive events. From natural disasters to global financial changes, it also includes smaller-scale events that may be online including comments on social media, or the loss of reputation and face because of a particular event.
Reputation may be a small factor, however the loss of it can arguably have as much of an impact as a global financial event of natural disaster. As said by Warren Buffett; ‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.’ The impact of a loss of face is possible limitless. Reputation may be affected by client interaction, a public event, or actions online within perhaps Social Media. For a successful business, a positive image of yourself is essential to engage and re-engage your customers. Reputation is indeed everything in both life and business.
Reputation is very fragile and only one mistake can cause irreparable damage to your company’s image. This is now more so than ever before the case in today’s online world where clear transparency and high customer expectations exist. As such, ignoring strong public digital voices cannot be done anymore. Because of this, it is necessary for any business now to have a strong Social Media Crisis Management Plan. One would argue however that for this medium it is better to have a Crisis Prevention Plan. Companies have to communicate effectively in the Social Media age and really listen to what their customers are saying and respond in a way that aligns with both brand and customer expectations. Social Media has brought companies together with their clients unlike never before.
It will come back to bite on your company reputation if you remove posts that they didn’t agree with, or ignore certain ones and reply to others. Some companies have claimed that they were hacked when they clearly haven’t. Using such excuses to cover up activity can make it seem you don’t care about your customers. Honesty is vital to uphold your integrity and reputation. It is important to admit when you make mistakes and equally important to apologise and everything you can to correct the mistake.
Along the same line as online reputation management on Social Media, you need to secure your accounts. You need to ensure that only certain people within your company have access to your accounts. You don’t want your crisis to your reputation to come from within your company!
When you think of Crisis Management, you often forget of small scale factors that could become crises. Reputation falls into this category and is arguably one of the most important situations to plan for. That is, plan to PREVENT loosing. Prevention here is key. Talk to a consultant today to develop a prevention strategy to ensure any event does not involve your loss of reputation.