Steps To Create A Crisis Management Plan
What Is a Crisis Management Plan?
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, address 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 analyze 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.
Importance of Crisis management plan
A crisis management plan is of utmost importance for organizations to effectively handle unexpected and damaging events. It enables them to respond proactively rather than reactively, minimizing the impact of a crisis. With predefined procedures and communication channels in place, organizations can swiftly contain and manage the situation, preventing it from escalating further.
Crisis management plan allows organizations to be proactive rather than reactive when a crisis occurs. It enables them to anticipate potential risks, establish clear roles and responsibilities, and develop strategies to mitigate the impact of a crisis.
Crises can significantly impact an organization’s reputation. A crisis management plan assists in protecting and preserving the reputation by providing guidelines for effective communication, media relations, and stakeholder engagement. It helps in maintaining transparency and trust during challenging times.
It is essential for organizations to respond effectively, protect their reputation, maintain stakeholder confidence, ensure legal compliance, safeguard employee well-being, ensure business continuity, and facilitate learning and improvement. It provides a structured and systematic approach to manage crises and helps organizations navigate through challenging times successfully.
What you need to include in your crisis management plan
When designing a crisis management strategy, it is critical to consider a number of criteria to ensure successful handling of crises and emergencies. The following are some essential components that must be included:
1. Crisis Management Team: Identify and form a specific group tasked with dealing with emergencies. This team should include key personalities from relevant organisational units or fields of expertise.
2. Risk Assessment: Conduct a detailed review of your company’s potential weaknesses and threats. This research allows for proactive planning and preparation by identifying the types of crises that are most likely to occur.
3. Crisis Communication Plan: Develop a comprehensive communication plan outlining how information will be communicated both internally and externally during a crisis. Establish key spokespersons, communication channels, and methods for disseminating accurate and timely information.
4. Create policies and processes: To deal with the media during a crisis. Choose a media contact who can respond to media inquiries quickly, create press releases, and, if necessary, organise interviews.
5. Emergency Response Procedures: Develop clear, thorough procedures for dealing with a variety of scenarios. This includes protocols for contacting authorities in the event of an emergency, emergency contact information, evacuation plans, and policies to ensure the safety of stakeholders such as employees and customers.
6. Business Continuity Plan: Create plans to ensure that critical business operations continue in the case of an emergency. Reduce disruption by identifying critical operations, developing backup plans, and defining alternate operating procedures.
7. Training and exercises: Run exercises to assess employee readiness and train workers on crisis management procedures on a regular basis. This improves reaction times, familiarises employees with their roles and responsibilities, and highlights possible areas for development.
8. Stakeholder Engagement: Consider the needs and concerns of diverse stakeholders, such as the community, suppliers, customers, and employees. Make plans for involving and aiding them during a crisis in order to maintain confidence and mitigate potential harm.
9. Post-Crisis Evaluation: After a crisis, do a thorough evaluation to determine the success of the response and to identify any lessons that can be utilised in the future. Use this information to update and reinforce the crisis management strategy, as well as to fill any gaps or deficiencies.
10. Legal and Regulatory Considerations: Ensure that all applicable laws, rules, and industry standards are followed throughout crisis management. Consult legal counsel to understand the legal implications of various crisis circumstances and develop appropriate responses.
Crisis management plan examples
Certainly! Here are some examples of crisis management plans in businesses:
1. Product Recall Crisis:
– Activate the crisis management team immediately upon discovering the product issue.
– Issue a public statement acknowledging the problem, expressing concern for affected customers, and outlining steps being taken to address the issue.
– Coordinate with regulatory agencies, legal counsel, and relevant departments to develop a recall plan, including communication, logistics, and customer support.
– Implement a communication strategy to inform customers, distributors, and retailers about the recall, providing clear instructions on returning or replacing the product.
– Conduct a thorough investigation to identify the cause of the issue, implement corrective measures, and prevent future occurrences.
2. Data Breach Crisis:
– Assemble the crisis management team, including IT, legal, PR, and customer service representatives.
– Immediately investigate and contain the data breach to minimize the impact.
-Notify impacted customers and stakeholders as soon as possible, describing the breach, efforts taken to alleviate the problem, and safeguards in place to secure their data.
– Collaborate with cyber security experts to address vulnerabilities, enhance security measures, and prevent future breaches.
– Provide ongoing support to affected customers, including identity theft protection services or credit monitoring.
3. Negative Social Media Crisis:
– Monitor social media channels for mentions, complaints, or negative sentiment related to the brand.
– Assign a designated spokesperson to address and respond to social media comments and inquiries promptly.
– Develop messaging that shows empathy, offers solutions, and demonstrates commitment to resolving the issue.
– Be transparent and open in communication, sharing accurate information and updates as the situation unfolds.
– Implement a proactive social media strategy to counterbalance negative sentiment with positive content and testimonials.
4. Leadership Crisis:
– Establish a crisis management team to assess the situation and determine the appropriate response.
– Develop a communication plan to address stakeholders, employees, and the public, ensuring transparency and accountability.
– Conduct internal investigations, ensuring compliance with legal and ethical standards.
– Take appropriate actions, such as leadership changes or implementing stronger governance and compliance measures.
– Provide ongoing communication and support to employees, maintaining morale and addressing concerns.
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 companies a holistic view of their customers to enable online business operations and maintain customer retention.