how to respond to a company crisis

What to do in a Crisis: A Quick Guide to Helpful Crises Responses

A business crisis can happen at almost any time. Social media is an essential tool to ensure your reputation and brand aren’t reflected negatively in the event of a crisis. You need to stay on top of what people are saying about you on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. No matter what type of crisis is occurring, you want to address the situation, respond to questions and comments (both negative and positive) and encourage people to take their conversations offline to the designated customer service team.
man talking on cell phone next to woman pointing at laptop
Here is a quick guide to various procedures that you can follow in a crisis scenario, along with some canned responses that will help you get started with engaging the public online.

Industry Crisis

McDonalds response to mad cow disease crisis affecting their beef

Any restaurant or food-based company that serves beef needs to worry about food-borne diseases. McDonald's has an entire section of their website called, "Your Right to Know", where they respond to consumer questions, concerns and feedback. This personalized ask-answer approach helps quell any negative communication, while giving you a place to send users who may be searching for such information.

When an industry crisis occurs, follow the public relations procedure below:

  • Address the situation in a statement and encourage fans and followers to contact your company offline with any additional questions.
    • For example: “Thank you for your comments and concerns about the recall of our product. The safety of our customers is of the utmost importance to us, so at this time, we will not be offering the recalled product in our stores until this situation has been resolved.” 

Are you trying to recover from an upending event? Take a look at our post: 7 Tips for Effective Crisis Management

City/Country/World Crisis

Target's coronavirus response on their website

The recent COVID-19 crisis really pushed the corporate world into a new way of interacting with customers. As such, Target dedicated an entire portion of their website to informing the general public about how they're responding to coronavirus and what they're doing to stop the spread.

When city, country or world crises occur, follow the public relations procedure below:

  • All social media channels will address a situation or stay silent to be respectful of those involved. However, be proactive if your services or products are needed to educate the general public.
    • “Our thoughts are with our friends, families and customers involved with the storms in the metro area.” 
    • “Our thoughts are with our friends, families and customers involved with the storms in the metro area. We will remain open until 11:00pm tonight for all of your cleanup needs. Please check your local stores for inventory estimates.” 

If you're searching for more information about developing a cohesive company response, read our post: How to Build a Communication Plan

Company Crisis

Beyonce clothing line sweatshop allegations response

Beyoncé and her clothing line, Ivy Park, recently faced sweatshop allegations — their response included, "We are proud of our sustained efforts in terms of factory inspections and audits, and our teams worldwide work very closely with our suppliers and their factories to ensure compliance. We expect our suppliers to meet our code of conduct and we support them in achieving these requirements." They did not respond to the specific accusation — what do you think?

When company crises occur, follow the public relations procedure below:

  • Address the situation with the appropriate information (an apology, where to go for more information, etc.) In any and all situations, encourage fans and followers to take the situation offline to the dedicated customer service department. 
    • “We would like to apologize to our loyal customers and fans who were affected by the recent outage of our website. We are addressing the situation immediately and will update you as soon as we have fixed the situation.” 

For more ideas on how to improve your company's website, read our post: Luxury Small Business Ideas

What Will Occur During a Crisis

social media apps on smartphoneEvery social media channel should either, A) address the situation or B) stay silent depending on the crisis. Your crisis communication team needs to be proactive and address every comment or question. Your team in charge of the social media channels  needs to respond to questions or comments. 

  • You should not delete negative comments off of your social channels. Try addressing them individually, instead, and encourage those people to take the conversation offline to our customer service team. 
  • If there are fans or followers that are repeatedly posting inappropriate content to any of your channels, ban them immediately or set up a filter.

Winning at Reputation Management

Using your listening tools, you will be able to monitor what people are saying about you or your brand on the web. Overall, address negative comments with the opportunity to take the situation offline. Now that you have this quick guide on various crises responses, you can start a conversation with the public online. 

When it comes to your company's online reputation, perfection pays off.

The team at Frahm Digital develops results-driven crisis response strategies that pushes back bad press. Whether you need to release an announcement, schedule interviews or conduct media outreach, we're here to help.

If you're interested in learning what it's like to work with us, click the button below to receive a no-hassle, 100% free website audit. We'll give you actionable insights on ways to improve your communication, design and SEO.

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