Dealing with DDDDDDDDDDDisaster
We live in a world where we can communicate at the click of a button and people from all corners of the globe can post a message within seconds.
Therefore, maintaining a good brand reputation is absolutely integral to the ongoing success of your company. Thanks to online review sites and popular social media platforms, a bad reputation can spread like wildfire. So, with this in mind, we’re going to look at the top tips for managing a PR crisis.
Don’t bury your head in the sand
First things first, don’t simply ignore the problem and think it will magically disappear and everything will be okay in the morning. It won’t; that’s the one thing you can be sure about. This also applies to poor consumer feedback; if you ignore your irate customers, or worse still, delete any evidence of their negative commentary from your social media platforms, you’ll damage your reputation further. Be honest and upfront, listen carefully to what your customers are saying and take it on board. When a crisis blows over, you’ll ultimately want to have your loyal customer base intact.
Keep everyone in the loop
If a PR disaster does unwittingly unfold then it’s vital to rally around your team and brief them about the ongoing situation. This is especially true for the staff members who deal directly with the general public or press (i.e. your social media, communication and/or customer service teams). They will need to know exactly what to do and say in the event that they’re approached by angry consumers or curious journalists. If they’ve been misinformed, it will only exasperate the situation and they may compromise the company’s reputation further by unintentionally spreading rumours etc.
Release a statement
Plan a statement carefully and be thoughtful about how you’re going to reply to all this negative attention. You want to highlight the fact that you’ve made a mistake and that you’re willing to attentively listen to your customers. This will help you win back favour and trust. Under no circumstances, make unrealistic promises that you can’t fulfil. Claiming big promises might be a grand gesture and work in the short-term but once the public catch on that they haven’t been fulfilled, it’ll cause even bigger problems for you and your brand down the line. Moreover, never express frustration or anger in any official responses; be professional and calm in all your undertakings.
Have a crisis management team in place
If you haven’t already, it’s critical that you put together an effective crisis management team. This could be made up from your PR, HR, legal and marketing departments and will ensure that problems don’t escalate too quickly when they initially arise in the first instance. You want to build a team that works well under pressure and can resolve issues swiftly. Doing this will better full-proof any future problems by helping to guarantee the successful handling of hypothetical crises. You can achieve this by going over all the potential risks (i.e. identifying likely things that might go wrong, how it will affect your business and the best way to respond). This will put you one step ahead of the game should a PR nightmare unfurl.
Ultimately, the public image of a company or organisation has always been important in cementing and establishing good reputations. However, in our modern-day