What you should know about crisis communication

Don't lose it - plan ahead for crisis situations
Businesses these days operate in fast changing and dynamic environments. Standing strong, no matter how devastating economic storms are, is key to their survival. Dealing with crisis situations is not an easy task, but it helps if you are prepared.

By Zafar Jamati 

So today's post is a step by step guide to be used in case of emergency:

Anticipate and plan: the Philippine authorities used public storm warning systems (PSWS) prior to the arrival of Haiyan, evacuating nearly 800,000 people to more secure public buildings. Although the majority of poorly constructed buildings provided little protection from the jet force winds, it gave some time to gather vital supplies for the days ahead.

As a business, it's wise to monitor and respond to changes in customer trends and buying behavior. Benchmark yourself against competitors and keep in line with any legislative changes to your industry. By doing this you stand the most chance of minimising the impact of a crisis situation.

Rapid response: the first few hours after a crisis are vital. The one thing we have now that was unavailable 10 years ago is social media. Facebook, Twitter, Linked in and Google, they can be your friend or your foe. If people take to online platforms against you, it's wise to respond quickly and calmly.

If your computer systems have suddenly gone offline, and taken down with them the ability to make payment transactions, then inform your customers via a quick tweet, updating as the situation develops.

Cohesion and consistency: In a globalised world it's often difficult to manage events from a centralised location. If you operate from multiple locations, issuing internal communication guidelines is one way to ensure that all people within the organisation maintain a cohesive message going forward. This is strengthened by instilling core values and cultural norms at a wider organisational level.

Rebuild trust: offer a one off discount to those customers affected. This is one way to build goodwill and can drastically affect the long term customer-vendor relationship.

Effective communication is difficult under ideal conditions, so times of crisis can often compound the level of difficulty. Being proactive and maintaining your composure may go a long way in helping you to recover.

The team here at Stone Junction wishes the best for the relief effort being undertaken worldwide.

Photo courtesy of Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Zafar Jamati

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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