When things go wrong for your company, it’s important to fix the issues but also do what you can to avoid a public relations crisis. If you do not have an easy-to-understand PR policy in place, now is the time to develop one and ensure each employee understands these simple instructions.
1. Stay cyber secure
A company’s sensitive data getting breached is the reason for many PR crises and the worst part is that many of these breaches are easily avoidable. Ensure your company has security safeguards in place and look into a managed detection and response (MDR) program and research MDR pricing to see if this is a viable solution for your company. Regardless of how you choose to protect your sensitive data, it is important that you do something and don’t become complacent thinking “it won’t happen to us.”
2. Communicate with employees
Take the time to communicate with your employees to ensure they fully understand their role in your company’s cybersecurity. Employees can often be the weakest link in your security strategies due to a lack of understanding of how their actions can affect everyone, so educate them. Also, encourage them to be good stewards of your company no matter what they do—whether it’s posting on Facebook or having a conversation in public wearing company swag. Employees need to understand how their actions — intended or not — can have a direct effect on your company and how others view it.
3. Monitor your social media
Social media can be a curse and a blessing for companies. Social sites are a great way to get your company’s message in front of your target audience, but it also serves as a place where customers feel most empowered to express their anger or frustration. Ensure that you have someone who can monitor all social channels in case a rogue customer posts negative things. This person should also be level-headed and able to handle all customers in a kind and appropriate manner, regardless of how the customer is speaking to them. Staying cool in a crisis can be tricky, so be sure that the person hired to do this job has thick skin.
4. Never skimp on customer service
It can be hard to satisfy every customer, particularly when they have a request that seems ridiculous or impossible to carry out. However, even when your answer is “no,” there are ways to say this that don’t sound negative or dismissive. If you can’t do something that is requested, let the customer know what you can do so it doesn’t appear like you are blowing them off. You can avoid a PR nightmare by simply working politely with customers regardless of how ridiculous their questions and requests are. You never know — your polite attitude could be all it takes to get a great review and a recommendation to peers.
5. Have a solid crisis comms plan
No company is perfect, and you’re bound to face a crisis at some point in your company’s tenure. Your best defense is a solid plan for managing the fallout. Develop a chain of action that should occur as soon as something seems amiss. Should an employee contact their manager? What constitutes the beginnings of a PR crisis? Ensure you and your employees can answer these questions at all times so you are always prepared. Quick thinking and action are key in avoiding a serious PR issue and you don’t want to waste precious time being reactive once a problem has occurred.
PR crises can be less destructive if managed appropriately. Follow the steps above to prepare your company for the worst.