The foundation of any solid company is its reputation. A company’s reputation, in terms of customer service and quality, is what keeps customers interested in doing business with this company. Well, what if a crisis occurs that tarnishes this great reputation that you and all of your employees have worked so hard to earn? Can you handle such devastation? If you’re not sure how to properly handle a public issue, this is where you desperately need to hire a public relations specialist, if you haven’t already.
The primary job of any public relations specialist is to relay messages to an audience in a way that will favorably change their opinion on any given topic. That is why, when any sort of public conflict arises, such as a customer posting about a bad experience at your store, or one of your employees was caught behaving inappropriately, it is best left to a public relations professional to handle. There are three main steps to handle a crisis:
- Analyze the Situation: Take the time to look at the facts, hear all sides of the story, and do some research on everyone involved. It is best to know all of the facts so that when it comes time to respond, you are prepared to release the best and most appropriate statement possible.
- Prepare multiple statements: When dealing with sensitive topics such as these, it is imperative to ensure that the statement that is being released to the public not only fits the company’s usual target audience, but the public in general. Handling a conflict wrong could lead to the situation becoming infinitely worsened, especially once social media is involved. That is why a public relations specialist must sit down with management and write multiple versions of the statement, making sure that the diction and tone of the message are clear, concise and appropriate. Once you have the statement that is closest to perfect, it is time to decide if it should be presented through social media, or in the form of an oral speech. If an oral speech is the chosen route, make sure that the presenter is extremely familiar with the speech’s content, because a disingenuous seeming speech can make this issue infinitely worse. It is also important that the speaker give eye contact, speak clearly and alter his or her tone of voice to the content of the message.
- Waiting for reaction to the statement: It is now time to sit back and wait to see the reaction that the statement provoked. There will always be negative reactions, but you just have to hope that there are only a few, and that the positive reactions win the majority. It is also important that every negative reaction be handled with a private message to that person apologizing and allowing for them to explain their feelings. This shows them that you care enough to hear their issues.
If your company ever finds itself in the terrible predicament of needing to clean up a public mess, our professionals at David Greenberg Communications are the best to call. We will help you write the perfect statement or post that will ensure your business comes out looking better than ever.