5 Steps to Restore Trust after a Crisis
Posted by: Lisa Heathman in: Media Relations -
Today’s 24/7 news cycle and the popularity of social media make restoring trust after a crisis especially critical. With everyone watching and reporting, coupled with the permanence of crisis coverage online, a crisis can move at the speed of light and hang around forever. However, there are five things an organization can do in the wake of a crisis to restore its reputation over the long term:
- Fix what went wrong. Whether it involves people, processes or paralysis within the organization, quickly fix what went wrong. Improve where you can, and talk about it. Be sure to do this right away, don’t wait for the world to tell you how to fix it. If you delay, you may be forced or shamed into their solution.
- Make good on promises made. This is another step that needs to be taken quickly. Over-deliver on the promises you make and communicate your organization’s core values while resolving the issue. Let audiences see and hear your values in actions as well as words.
- Don’t squander any goodwill that was earned. Handled well, a crisis response can boost your reputation. People will remember how you handled the crisis, whether it was pure misfortune or just the beginning of a bigger issue. Take advantage of a crisis situation to be the one that does it right.
- Keep listening and answering questions. Be proactive with monitoring media, social media, employees and shareholders for signs the crisis story has resurfaced. Invest in listening software and people to use it. Train customer-facing employees to report back what they are hearing or seeing. Build trust by being responsive to conversations about the crisis for as long as it’s an issue.
- Turn the situation into a positive. Use the energy to change the culture, redefine the brand, build relationships with media and embrace change. View a crisis as an opportunity to help those who were effected, follow crisis coverage with positive news and stay active on social media.
The good news is that crises do end, but repairing a company’s reputation is a dynamic process that requires quick action, senior level involvement and commitment for the long haul. Reputation is invaluable. It’s worth taking the time and effort to manage it well, especially in difficult times.