Crisis communication is vital to any business in difficult times.

The businesses that communicate with their customers early on usually win more loyalty and are able to offer reassurance. But it’s also important to understand what your customers are looking for and effectively communicate your key messages. Our 5 stages for crisis communication outline key ways you can get ahead of the difficult times and help customers when they most need it.

Crisis communication

1 – Planning, planning, planning

In a time of crisis – or impending crisis – it’s important to be as prepared as possible.

Get together a team of people within your business who may be good in a crisis and ask yourselves a few questions:

What crises could come up?

How prepared are we?

What would our customers be the most worried about during a crisis?

Can we draft up a few responses?

Who can we run our responses past to see if they hold up?

Depending on the size of your business you may want to carry out a vulnerability audit with an expert.

2 – Dedicate some resources to your crisis communication strategy

You need at least one person in your organisation who can speak to the media.

Someone who can stay calm in a crisis and stay organised to lead the team.

One who can write well to communicate with customers – this can be outsourced if you don’t have the resource.

Some legal resource –  whether this is in-house or outsourced.

3 – Get out there quickly

The quicker you can respond, the better. The supermarkets who responded quickest at the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis were able to reassure customers more.

Equally, if you can tell people you’ve moved online or slightly pivoted your business you’re more likely to pick up customers before the market becomes too saturated. Customers also love to feel as if they’ve come on the journey with you.

4 – Monitor the crisis

After your early communication your work isn’t over.

If you’re in a global crisis the situation will constantly be changing and so will the conversation.

You can setup Google alerts or use a paid for service like Meltwater.

Make sure you don’t forget social media platforms and anywhere someone may have left a review for your business.

It’s important to dedicate one person to keeping up with the alerts and news, and then strategise as to how best to manage it.

5 – Understand your customers

Every business should know their customers, and this knowledge should underpin all of your marketing strategies. But it’s especially important when planning your crisis communications.
Understand your customers’ pain points, understand what they’re interested in and find out as much as you can about them.

 

Have your own tips? Let us know in the comments below.