What To Do When Crisis Hits Your Brand?
Unfortunately, the nature of life is that things can go horribly wrong even when we think they are running smoothly.
When we look to brand names such as Samsung, Volkswagen and American Airlines, we can see how the wheels have come off the bus spectacularly.
And then, especially in the case of American Airlines, we have had a master class in how not to handle PR, thrown in free of charge.
So what is the right approach to take when crisis hits mission control and your brand is on the buffers?
Firstly, by dealing with the technical issue or incident which has sparked your current brand woes.
The very first thing you need to do when you are faced down with a media storm, is to listen to the criticism that you are getting.
This means taking notes, listening to concerns and paying attention to detail.
Not only do you want to fix the matter swiftly and efficiently, but you want to be seen to be paying attention to the issue – and to your customers.
- REPLY WITH CARE
You need to respond to your customers’ grievances in a timely fashion and in a thoughtful manner.
Let us think about what a timely manner may be. This is something which could vary depending on the size and manner of your organization, the depth of the crisis and the expectation level you have set your customers.
For a small business or organization, we would recommend having some guidance printed on your website pledging to respond to all inquiries within a 48 hour period.
For larger organizations, it is realistic to expect that your customers may be looking for a swifter turnaround time than that.
When you do reply, it needs to be carefully and in a cool headed manner.
If your customers need more information, show them where to get it from.
It is worth pointing out that by doing as much as you can do – even by going above and beyond what may be expected of you as an organization, will stand out in your customers minds, maybe just as much as the original complaint.
But conversely, doing nothing may actually aggravate the problem excessively.
- ALWAYS REMAIN POLITE
Particularly if you are a small business, it may feel as if it is you personally that people are out to get.
This is not the case. And even if you are being attacked verbally, or online; remain polite and calm to your customers.
Launching into abuse, even if it seems well deserved, is the kiss of death to any brand or business.
- LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCE
Not only should your entire company learn something from the crisis, whatever its origins, be they technical or a personnel issue – but it should show that it has done as well.
Make sure that lessons are learnt from this experience and you grow as a brand as a result of it – not just survive!