What will you do when a crisis hits? We have recently witnessed several examples of both great and… well, not so great crisis communication, both in Finland and abroad. With news finding their way on our feeds instantly and social media bombarding us constantly with messages, crises grow and new ones are born faster than ever.
There are many ways to conduct crisis communication, and even when put on a spot, the company doesn’t have to compromise from its tone of voice; sometimes even humour is allowed, as KFC proved earlier this year. However, the message must always be considered on basis of the situation, and more often than not, a more serious approach is needed.
Here’s your guidelines on how to hack crisis situations!
This is the ideal situation: no crisis in the first place. However, we are all just humans, and accidents happen, which is why preventative measures are important in any firm and organisation. Listening to your customers and their feedback is crucial for finding any possible bugs and issues before the situation escalates to a full-on catastrophe. Remember to keep your day-to-day communications in check as well – how can you send fluent and effective messages in a crisis if this doesn’t happen even amidst normal operations?
Cut the reaction time
Responsibilities and measures must be well-defined in advance. It should be clear who answers and how, should an accident happen. Quick reactions through interactions can prevent the disaster from getting out of control. Remember to keep your cool though, and don’t panic; it is good to practice crisis communication beforehand.
Be honest and open
Lying or hiding facts does NOT help; on the contrary, they are often bound to embark anyway at some point, which usually makes the situation even worse and stains the company imago. Be open and honest about the mistakes made, and you have a chance to turn the tables. Showing humbleness and humanity gets a better reaction from the public and the stakeholders than arrogance and avoiding the situation.
Apologise and fix it
Say that you’re sincerely sorry for the issues and try to understand what caused the crisis in the first place. Understanding the root cause makes the reactions easier, fixing it more straightforward and allows for preventing it from happening again. Show that you are genuine with your apology by actively correcting the issues by taking appropriate measures. Learn from the mishap, and the feedback you get during the situation will be a good starting place for developing your practices for the better.