This video shows how Ramon de Leon better known as ‘Chicago’s Pizza guy’ averted a customer service crisis.
Think about some of the crises that have occurred in your organization. Nine times out of ten the response carried more weight than the crisis itself. A lot of frustration and resentment occurs when the response to a critical situation is either too slow, or is not adequate.
Here are 6 communication do’s and don’ts to consider if you ever have to respond to a crisis:
- Act quickly to gather the facts and respond to the problem. This reduces speculation and resentment brought about by slow response.
- Use the best people to speak on behalf of your organization. This is usually the top executive or founder of the organization.
- Correct erroneous information and rumors with current and accurate information.
- Commit to regular, incremental release of information to keep your base abreast of the situation.
- Communicate from the victim’s point of view using compassionate language that demonstrates solidarity and sympathy.
- Make it up to those who have suffered! Pledge to fix the problem and then keep your promise to do it!
- Finger point in an attempt to divert criticism. Blaming others will quickly dilute your reputation and give your base reason to go elsewhere.
- Issue self-serving messages in an attempt to save face, e.g. “If we had known then, what we know now….” and other meaningless statements.
- Use ‘tech’ speak when explaining yourself to your base. Speak plainly and use terms that are easy to understand. This re-assures your base that you’re in touch with them.
- Issue conditional regrets such as, “We’re sorry but….”. If you do this, you create the perception that you’re not really taking responsibility for your role in the problem.
- Issue a press release to express your organization’s regret – at least not initially! Wait until a top representative of the organization has spoken directly on the crisis and then follow up with a press release.
- Allow employees to communicate on behalf of the organization!
There’s certainly more to it than this list, and hiring a PR expert may yield positive results. However it’s a good idea to educate yourself on some of the basics.
Also as the video above shows, keep in mind that social media provides an excellent opportunity to respond to a crisis:
- It is quick
- It is cheap
- It has a very wide reach
- It provides a platform to engage directly with the base, answering their questions and addressing their concerns.
What are some of the ways that your organization has responded to crises?