Crisis management. Two words that business owners near and far seem to cringe at. And really, who can blame them? The way that a company handles a crisis can mean dishonor and death or survival and rebirth.
Here are some basic tips for handling a crisis situation:
1. Don’t wait. Create a detailed crisis plan before any crisis hits so that you’re prepared and not caught off guard. This plan will serve as your survival guide and map of steps.
2. Respond quickly – The longer you wait, the more damaging the situation becomes.
3. Be swift, but be factual.
4. Choose a primary spokesperson. This will be the ONLY person designated to speak with the media and to represent the company throughout the process.
5. All communications (press releases/statements) should go through one channel. Be sure that the media knows where to go for accurate information, whether it’s through a press conference, your website, spokesperson or social media.
6. Designate a designated back-up spokesperson.
7. Never, ever, under any circumstances say “No comment.” It makes a bad situation worse and often sends journalists into a frenzy of digging for dirt.
8. Never go “off the record” with a journalist. This is only done in movies, and to be honest, it’s foolish. Don’t do it.
9. Sincerity is of the utmost importance. If there are victims involved, be sure to express empathy and concern, and DO NOT deflect blame. You run the risk of coming across as callous and uncaring.
10. Don’t bury bad news. You’re not doing yourself any favors. The truth will come out, and you won’t be prepared. Disseminate accurate information as soon as possible to avoid the circulation of falsehoods.
Having a plan could mean the difference between shining brightly as a business or going down in flames.