Crisis Response that is Fast, Effective, and Direct
Crisis response means taking action. It is the ability to be strategic with your response plan through careful monitoring and following through with established response protocols. You’ll never be able to predict when a crisis will occur, but you can identify certain scenarios and plan how to appropriately respond in each type of event. Whether it’s a fire, unresponsive employee, chemical spill, active shooter, extreme weather, or a major machinery failure, the speed of your response and the actions you take may also turn into a Public Relations (PR) crisis, if mishandled. It’s important to pay attention to what is going on and use real time communication strategies to help keep employees safe and maintain your brand image.
Resolve the Problem by Taking Quick Action
When it has been determined that there is a crisis going on, first look to your established protocols to begin your response. Try to communicate directly with those who are on the ground and manage responses accordingly. If you don’t have an answer, don’t pretend to have one. Do your best to determine what is happening and identify those who are at risk while following OSHA practices in order to get the situation under control.
Send critical alerts using the best channels and continue to be proactive throughout the event. Consider using multiple avenues of communication, such as text messaging, email, and phone calls to make sure you reach the widest audience possible. In crisis situations, your staff may be on the move and won’t always have immediate access to their computers or a stable internet connection. When seconds are critical, the flexibility of being able to message employees wherever they are is crucial.
Monitor the Situation Carefully Until it is Over
No matter the type of crisis, continually monitor what is going on. During a PR crisis, your reputation can be at risk. If the crisis is an emergency within your facility, how your monitor and respond to the situation is important to make employees feel safe. While a PR crisis and a security emergency are not the same, monitoring is critical to successfully resolve the issue. This will also provide insight as to what is going on and help you make decisions on how to respond to the crisis. You will be able to identify what is being said about the crisis and be able to hone your response based on what is being said.
Stay Transparent to Maintain the Trust You’ve Built
During a crisis, you must always be clear and direct in all of your communications. You need your employees and the public to trust you. If you send out messages that are vague or don’t seem relevant, your employees are going to start ignoring your real crisis messages in the future. Messages must be up-front and clear, giving actionable advice in the midst of the crisis situation. In a PR situation, don’t try to avoid accountability by being vague or not taking responsibility. Take the time to prepare your response, be consistent, and stand up to your critics through positive changes made in your business protocols.
When you have worked hard to build up a strong business reputation, learning how to respond effectively during a crisis is critical to protect your brand image. When you are slow to react, your reputation will certainly take a hit. Be decisive and act immediately instead of appearing indecisive. Try to manage the response by continuing to monitor the event and make changes accordingly. Stay transparent throughout the crisis and take responsibility for any part you have played to cause the crisis in the first place. Stay strong consistent in your message and make changes based on information gathered throughout the event. When your reputation is at stake, it’s vitally important to pay close attention to what your critics are saying and work to resolve the problem quickly.