If you’re a business owner, you have probably already experienced a crisis. If you haven’t then great! It’s just a matter of time until you do.
There are a variety of crises that businesses should plan for; the first of which are the obvious—natural disasters. Set up a plan and make sure your employees know the protocol for storms, fires, etc.
There are some crises that happen out of the blue, and that’s okay. How you respond is what matters.
First take responsibility. As soon as you can do that, you can begin to get ahead of the game by responding to whatever happened. This response can come in a variety of forms. In the case of United Airlines, you could refund the customer. And in some cases you can issue a public apology.
Speaking of which, you should definitely apologize. And along with the apology, practice empathy. Put yourself in the shoes of whoever was affected and ask yourself what you would want to feel better. Don’t worry about the cost, because every crisis costs money, but the quicker you can respond to the crisis the less it will cost you and your business in the long run.
The time right after a crisis means everyone should be extra cautious. Monitor your social media like you never have before, listen to your team on what ideas they have to get you back on track, but avoid knee-jerk reactions. Your company’s brand is at stake but chances are your employees want things to get back to normal as much as you do.
Crisis communication isn’t easy but it is something you’re going to embrace at some point in your career. And the best way to embrace a crisis is to just be ready.
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