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How to deal with a crisis
Richard Branson’s reaction to the recent Virgin Galactic tragedy has inspired me to talk today about crisis management.
Communications are a major part of managing a crisis and as soon as news broke, Branson was already tweeting that he was on the way to the scene of the incident. He has been in constant communication since.
Although thankfully not as serious as this, we may all face a situation in business where we need to disseminate a difficult message to our customer base. Below are a few tips to make sure it all goes smoothly and you can avoid any negative feedback.
- Communication has to come both ways, listen to what the customer’s problems are and respond to them directly.
- Being informative is the key. If you’re not up front and provide the information, someone else will. If you don’t know the answers just yet, admit it, but let the audience know how you’re going to find them.
- Sincere honesty and apologies can go a long way. As the saying goes actions speak louder than words. Say what you mean and prove it.
- Show a human face. At the soonest opportunity, Branson was in front of TV cameras issuing his statement.
- Be flexible with your crisis communications and adapt to the situation. The route you had planned may not be suitable for this crisis, but be aware of alternative messages you can provide.
- Twitter is the social media platform that dominates the swift dissemination of news. Use it wisely and make sure your crisis communication is Twitter friendly.
- Internal communications are key to successful crisis management. Keep everyone informed but be mindful as to who responds to the crisis as it develops.
- Have a PR agency briefed and prepared, in case your crisis become unmanageable in-house. They can help prepare statements and deal with the media, to allow your business time to establish the company response.
The real value of PR agencies: http://www.harveyandhugo.com/the-real-value-of-pr-agencies/