Home / Blog / Crisis management: 7 tips to protect your Company’s image

Crisis management: 7 tips to protect your Company’s image

A gestão de crise é fundamental para as empresas que querem sobreviver no mercado. Aprenda sete dicas para preservar a imagem do seu negócio.

crisis management

If you quickly analyze your newsfeed on social media, you’ll see that at least one of your contacts will be complaining about a product or service she has purchased. You, yourself may have been one of those people!

Because it is easy for users to express their dissatisfaction, entrepreneurs need to have a crisis management plan structured so that a simple statement does not lead to a loss of credibility with other consumers.   

And that doesn’t affect only major organizations! People who work with the Internet know that a crisis, no matter how simple, can affect business relationships that took months to be built.  

Next, I share seven tips for an effective crisis management and how to prevent further damage to your brand.

But first of all, what is crisis management?

Crisis: Any situation that threatens to harm people and property, interrupt the continuity of a business or damage the reputation of a company/entrepreneur.

Now that you know the concept of crisis, it is also important to know that it is an external factor that you can’t control, and that, in most cases, it will catch you by surprise.  

The best way to avoid your business from being damaged is by being prepared to react instantly, which is basically the concept of crisis management.  

1- Imagine all the possible scenarios

Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. As pessimistic as it may seem, this is how you should think before starting a business.

You might create a product and almost instantly become an online sales success but we know that these cases are the exception much more than the rule.

In order not to fall into the overconfidence trap, you will need to have a well-structured business plan, which anticipates all possible scenarios for the first few months of your business venture.  

You need to ask yourself:

  • What are the weaknesses of my product?  
  • Does my product meet the interests of the target audience?  
  • What will I do if my strategy fails?

Self-criticism is important to find out how you can correct possible mistakes before throwing yourself into the market.

2- Try to think like your customer

Imagine you have an online course. You will need to choose a reliable platform to host your material, create quality content, have a fast and trustworthy checkout. These are examples of actions that can be put into practice to handle possible objections your customers may have and provide a good shopping experience.

The time you spend in pre-production prevents you from marketing a bad product and, even if it does not guarantee that your product is a sales success, it becomes easier to deal with “haters” of your brand when you have dozens of other satisfied customers with the purchase.

Showing empathy is also important to establish a closer dialogue with your audience.   

3- Be prepared for the crisis

I’ve come up with a good product, so does this mean that I don’t have to worry about crises? Wrong!

Your work never ends when your product is released. You always have to think of ways to meet your audience’s demands and ensure that people are kept satisfied with the purchase.

But even if you take all possible measures, your company still won’t be immune to problems since there are other factors that influence your business. There may be a problem with the online payment platform, for example.  

You need to have a plan of action for these cases, which helps you to communicate in an assertive way with your customer.

In the case of this particular example, you can never know that there was a problem in payment from a client.

You need to check daily if your process is working as it should and prepare for situations in which it is not.  

When you notify customers about the problem and provide information that you are already working on a solution, it prevents them from being frustrated when trying to make the purchase.    

4- If there is a problem, don’t deny it

Your main objective is to protect the image of your business, but you should never do that by deceiving your audience.

Recently, we have seen in the press the case of a multinational company that refused to take responsibility for a natural disaster and it ended up establishing a bigger crisis: a crisis of credibility, especially in the international market, where it was one of the leaders in its segment.  

Now, a successful example of crisis management was LinkedIn, which in 2016 faced a problem of mass data leakage of more than 160 million users.

The Company came forth and owned up to its mistakes, reported that it was working to avoid that users suffered further harm, and requested that everybody changed their account password immediately.

Although this does not prevent the feeling of insecurity on that network, it showed that LinkedIn is transparent and was willing to solve the problem as soon as possible.  

What did I mean by these two examples?

It’s not often that a crisis can be avoided, but it’s how you react to it that determines how your image will be perceived by your audience.

Whenever you are faced with a situation that may impact your customer, use your communication channels such as your blog, website or social media to make people aware of the problem.

Even if your business failure frustrates your customers in the beginning, it’s better they find out from you rather than from other sources.  

5- Talk to the agents of your business

In the post 7 mistakes that can kill your business in the first few months, we’ve talked about the importance of having a good relationship with everybody involved in your business venture.

Even if you work alone, it is possible that, at some point, you’ve had a supplier with whom you related more, affiliates that promoted your product online, and users who were/are evangelists of your brand.

These people need to be informed that you are facing a problem in order to share correct information and not take a position before you do.

6- Monitor what people are saying about you on the Internet

At the beginning of this text, I talked about how users can destroy the reputation of a company through the Internet. These users are known as “haters”.

The bad news is that the more your business grows, the harder it is to manually keep track of everything people are talking about your product online.  

But you still need to do it if you want to be one step ahead of crises that can ruin your business.

There are good tools that you can use to help you in this task.

Such as SCUP, which is a social media monitoring service where you can include several keywords and find out when these terms were mentioned and by whom.

The company offers different packages that vary according to the volume of entries made on the network. If your business is just starting out, their basic plan perfectly meets your needs.

Social Mention is another tool that can be used to find out what people are talking about your brand on the Internet.  

Just enter a term into the search bar, and Social Mention “sweeps” all the main search engines to find out what was said about that term across all social media.  

Now, if you are not willing to spend some money on monitoring your company, there is the option to set up Google Alerts on your Gmail account.

With Google Alerts, you get an email notification every time that the keyword you chose is mentioned on the news or post.   

Visit online forums

But the golden tip is to monitor your customers’ complaints on the web.

Despite being consumer-centered, it allows you to follow whenever there is a complaint about your product or service.

It gives you the possibility to provide an immediate solution to your customer’s demand.

Needless to say that when you give a quick answer to a problem, the claim loses strength, avoiding further damage to your online reputation.   

7- Learn from your mistakes so as not to repeat them  

The crisis can not always be avoided, but you can find out what you were doing wrong before, so you can improve.  

Just like any other big business decision, you will need a detailed report about the crisis and about how it has affected your business to prepare for similar situations.

Measure the financial impact  

Every crisis generally reflects into financial loss, because many people no longer buy your products or advertisers don’t want to place ads on your page.

Whatever the damage, it is an unexpected shortage that, depending on the size of your business, might be enough for you to have to shut down your activities.

To have a projection of how much you can lose during the crisis, it is useful to think about strategies that can help you supply the cash flow in different ways and prevent your business from going bankrupt.

Measure the impact on your credibility

If you follow these tips and provide a fast answer to your consumer, it is likely that your reputation suffers less before a crisis.

Even so, it is necessary to check how many people stopped following your page, how your website’s traffic is, and if there were users who asked to be removed from your email lists.

These numbers are easily tracked using available tools on Google Analytics and from the report of email marketing tools.

Why is it so important to be aware of that?

So that you quickly draw up a plan of action able to regain those users, before they establish a business relationship with your competitor.

Better safe than sorry

Learning how to act before a crisis is more than a competitive advantage, it is a matter of survival in an increasingly competitive market, which is the case of the market of digital products.

I hope you never need to put these tips into practice, but if you need them, feel free to check this post again!  

Did you like this text? Let me know your opinion here in the comments section!