Steps to create a Crisis Management Plan
In any company or firm, crises are the most common threat that can cause negative consequences, bad reputation, public safety, interruptions in the operations and financial losses, if not dealt with or managed effectively and quickly.
These are the crisis that takes place in form of natural, technical, human-caused accidental disasters, weather events, biological hazards and also, due to major conflict in the interest of the employees. The ongoing global pandemic is a perfect illustration of crisis management in action that has affected all kinds of businesses.
If a company is prepared for such kind of crisis with a proper crisis management plan, it can reduce the damage and facilitate the affected company to recover rapidly. A crisis management plan refers to a well-documented outline of all the procedures and techniques that a company can use to respond to a critical situation.
Teams responsible for business continuity, emergencies, crisis management and damage evaluation use CMP to minimize the damage by providing necessary guidelines regarding employees, resources, information, and communications.
6 steps to create a crisis management plan:-
For a proper crisis management plan, companies must pick the right technology platform to follow the criteria that need to be followed before, after and during the time of crisis. Platforms like Locobuzz, Awario, Meltwater, Brandmention etc can evaluate the impact of incidents on the business and customers with social listening and analytic tools to manage social media response and updates.
Here are some steps to create a good crisis management plan:
1. Anticipate the crisis
Companies should always be ahead of time and be prepared for unforeseen circumstances and potential crises. So, firstly define all kinds of crisis whether it is a critical situation heavily impacting the business like natural disasters or pandemic, small incidents or malpractices like robbery or violence that can be dealt with in a short time or emergencies which might be stressful but won’t heavily impact the business’s finances or reputation.
Take charge and carry out a brainstorming session to list down all the probable crises that could occur and how hard they might affect your company. Identify the potential impact of these crises based on the level of impact. For example, if a fire explosion takes place in your factory, the company not only suffers a heavy financial loss but also loses its online and offline customer base until the factory is re-build.
To avoid such a crisis, you’ll have to pre-plan fire safety precautions, training, and legislation in your factory. A company has many sectors so, it must also foresee which sector is likely to get affected by the crisis more and what needs to be done.
2. Designate a crisis management team
Appoint a senior-level team to take care of the organisation’s crisis that includes the CEO, your firm’s top PR executive, legal counsel, chief advisors, etc. When you define authority and accountability, the team should be aware of all the information, precautions, treatments, key emergency contacts, protocols, resources etc.
They should know whom to contact and how to communicate effectively. A CMP team takes the responsibility of communications between the teams as well as online and offline customers, legalities, financial advisors, media coverage etc. The team also focuses on customer retention during, after and before the crisis.
They are trained and skilled to keep the company safe and informed about the forthcoming threats and secures your brand from a potential crisis.
3. Test the formulated plan
The crisis response plan should first undergo a test to ensure the information and messages regarding the crisis are effectively delivered with credibility. Practising the strategies and solutions for different crises will help in understanding the strength of the company and its capability to execute the plan and estimate the level of awareness and preparation.
The test can further help in understanding the errors and analyse what went wrong and how it can be improved. With proper testing of the crisis management plan, the company can provide necessary training to all CMP team and empower them to be prepared with all information, contacts, resources, tools etc., when any kind of crisis appear including what kind of product safety as well as the safety of its staff.
4. Establish notification and monitoring systems
When a crisis leaves an impact, it affects your brand on social media. People associated with it speak negatively about your brand during a crisis. If your company doesn’t provide a smooth customer experience, then the negative feedbacks and reviews turn into a crisis itself. Thus, it is important to integrate social media monitoring tools, to monitor feedback, reviews and address the issues etc during a crisis problem.
You can adapt accurate strategies and tactics when you know how your brand is perceived among your consumers. Brnd24, SentiOne, Mention and Locobuzz are some of the platforms that provide social monitoring tools to analyse trends, customer sentiments and insights of your competitors.
This helps in eliminating risks and crisis impact by leveraging rich consumer and market insights specifically in real-time, understanding the audience summary, identifying the keyword associated with the customer sentiment, image recognition, user interaction insights, smooth customer experience, etc.
5. Communicate pre, post and during the crisis.
Your employees and customers should be aware of what crisis the company is suffering and how it is planning to fix the situation. Share the correct information, correct the misconception or wrong information immediately whenever it emerges. During a crisis, it is extremely important to communicate with the workforce in terms of operations and communication.
Employees accountable should be informed, trained and prepared for their actions during the time of crisis. To avoid panic and damages. companies should have a communication strategy for their employees, customers and media already on How your company will address the crisis in public? what kind of statements and interviews should be given? How will the team interact online during the crisis? etc.
The designated CMP team should be able to communicate to the rest of your company’s staff, stakeholders, associates, customers, media etc. with properly formatted newsletters, e-mails, messages, employee manuals and establish an escalation process for the decision.
6. Post-crisis evaluation
Every disaster has a different impact, companies with a significant crisis management plan discern these adversities as an opportunity for growth and improvement. After all, an optimistic outlook should be the primary approach to any disaster.
Thus, a formal analysis of failures and successes after the crisis should be done to avoid doing the same mistakes. And of course, give credit and address the efforts of people who executed the plan effectively during the crisis, managing the impact of the crisis on its employees, company, and the brand’s reputation.
One of the destructive consequences of any small or large crisis is diminished purchase intention of the consumers and business operations. With investments and capital, companies can still recover from the losses caused by the disasters, some business owners might even re-establish the business but in the end, attracting customers back to purchasing becomes a huge concern.
A powerful online brand reputation management system and social listening tools give the companies a holistic view of their customers to enable online business operations and maintain customer retention.