Accidents and mistakes are part of being human. You cannot get through life without tripping and skimming your knee at least once, and you will disappoint someone at some point by forgetting something.
Equally, a business cannot exist that does not face crises now and then.
Mistakes, misunderstandings, accidents, product failures, and employee misconduct are all risks that businesses face regularly. Although they’re nearly impossible to avoid, they can be managed.
If your business is well prepared and vigilant, you can foresee potential risks and prevent many of them from escalating into major crises. If managed especially well, few outside your crisis response team will even know something happened.
A carefully compiled crisis communications guide can literally save your business when the inevitable occurs.
The key to remember is that there’s no universal crisis handbook you can order and put on your shelf.
Every business is different and what needs to be in your response plan will require careful research, documentation, and frequent revision. It must also be flexible and evolve with your business.
If you’re feeling a little anxious because you don’t have an up-to-date crisis guide, it’s ok. During PR Newswire’s April 27th webinar Navigating a Crisis: Top Tips on How to Protect your Reputation, we’ll share top crisis communications firms’ advice for handling crises and protecting the brand reputation you’ve worked so hard to develop.
In the meantime, though, here are three steps to take right now that will kick-start your planning before a crisis strikes.
List Your Vulnerabilities
The only way to be prepared for a crisis, or perhaps avoid one altogether, is to have an understanding of the types of crises you might face.
This list will be unique for every business.
For example, if your business requires employees to use dangerous machinery or chemicals, your risks will differ from those of a business dealing with online sales.
Some general risks to start with include: systems outages (order processing or email), product failure, human error, dissatisfied customer reviews or social posts, employee misconduct, lawsuits, and communications faux pas.
Furthermore, look at any crises you dealt with in the past. While you may have permanently resolved some of them, there are others that will likely pop up again.
After making your initial list, group vulnerabilities into types such as Personnel, Customer, Legal, Financial, etc. Ensure the list is as thorough as possible by collaborating with key parties in your business who have other perspectives to add.
Continue reading here on BEYOND PR.