PR disasters have reached an entirely new level in the age of social media. Now, consumers and brands alike can use platforms like Facebook or Twitter to keep communication lines open—both good and bad. When a PR crisis occurs, companies don’t have to lock their doors and hide, nor should they. Instead, the midst of crisis can be the best time to learn and grow your brand.
1. Acknowledge the problem.
Consumers are smart. They know when something is up. Never try to hide something that directly affects your customers. Instead, recognize the incident right away and accept your responsibility where it lies.
2. Find a solution.
When you announce your crisis to the public, it’s important that you are also proactively seeking rectification at that time. Tell your consumers your plan to remedy the situation, including estimated timelines and steps customers may need to take themselves.
3. Remain open.
Alert the media and take to social media to report updates, answer questions, and hear concerns. Today, consumers expect two-way conversation, so be sure to provide easy channels of communication. If someone chooses to put your brand on blast online, you have the authority to delete specific posts or conversation threads.
4. Turn your customer service up a notch.
When your business is in crisis, stress levels are raised for both employees and customers. Instead of giving in to the anxiety, use that energy to provide your best customer service. Going above and beyond at this time will speak volumes to your consumers. How you address their questions and concerns will help determine whether customers decide to continue doing business with your brand.
5. Stand firm in your judgement.
When your business creates a solution to the problem, it is assumed that it’s done with the highest regard to the customer. Stand by your decisions and follow-through with any promises you make moving forward. This will help retain confidence in your brand high while re-establishing trust.
6. See the value.
As you evaluate the crisis, learn along the way. Crises can present good times to analyze your customer service, business processes, connections with the media, and ways to improve your brand. Just like any experience, going through crisis should be a time to learn and grow. Take the lessons learned from this time and use them to advance your brand in the future.
Though crisis is typically a time of high stress, remember there is value in that. A PR disaster doesn’t mean the end of your business. When handled correctly, it can actually lead to some of the best opportunities for growth.