4 Key Points of Crisis Management in a Company

A crisis is inevitable in running a business. It is hard to avoid crises as most crises are uncontrollable and unexpected. However, you should not ignore a crisis when it happens. Applying crisis management with the right strategy is imperative to solve the problems without creating negative impacts on the company’s image.

To ensure that your company’s crisis management is optimal, here are several key points that you need to pay attention to.

Responsive and transparent: the primary key of crisis management

As the crisis is ongoing, bad news about the company will circulate around much quicker than good news. It is undeniable the power and sensationalism of bad news; it has its own value and appeals to the mass. The media will report the crisis according to their own perspectives, making it harder to block the bad news.

Unfortunately, as bad news begins spreading, many companies choose to do the silent treatment. Perhaps they feel that silence is golden and that the bad news will die down and be replaced by another unrelated crisis. Well, it is possible, though it is not the case for most crises.

By not providing any comment, a company is creating an image that the company is secretive and not disclosing necessary information to the public. Do not be shocked if eventually, the public perceives this company negatively.

So, what should you do? There are two key points, responsiveness, and transparency. These two key points were presented by Dr. Ricardo Indra, M.Si., CPR, General Manager of the Program Management Office (Transformation) – Communication and Supporting PT Telkomsel, in a webinar held by BINUS Business School to celebrate the opening of the Master/S2 MM Program in Business Management at BINUS @Bekasi, on April 25, 2020.

Responsiveness does not equal recklessness. Before disclosing the company’s information regarding the crisis, first, you need to prepare the key messages containing things that you wish to say to the public. Through these key messages, you have the chance to change the public’s perception of your company during this crisis. Meanwhile, the openness that the company is displaying will increase the public’s trust in your company.

Mapping the impacts of the ongoing crisis

In the webinar titled ‘Seeking Opportunities from Setbacks, Bad News is Good News’, Indra also stated the importance of mapping the crisis. An ongoing crisis will most definitely bring impacts to the company, be they micro, minor, medium, major, or fatal impacts. When crisis strikes, a company should immediately identify how far the crisis can impact the company.

Crisis management by mapping the impacts can help the company to act fast. This is in accordance with the previous point, being responsive. Other than that, a fast approach to crisis management can also prevent bigger impacts on the company.

However, what kind of crises can be categorized as micro, minor, medium, major, or fatal? Each company has its own criteria. In other words, a company is required to set crisis level parameters to ensure the analysis and mapping processes run smoothly. In most cases, a crisis impact can be categorized as fatal when it disturbs or halts business operations.

The importance of a spokesperson with good communication skill

Crisis management in a company is not usually done by just one person. Operational divisions, corporate communication, to top management will participate in the crisis management. Although, not everyone from the team may show up and speak in front of the press.

Ideally, one person will be appointed as a spokesperson to communicate the company’s statement regarding the ongoing crisis.

During the webinar, Indra discussed that the appointment of a spokesperson should not be done randomly. The company’s ability to crisis management rests fully and will be judged based on the spokesperson’s communication skill. This spokesperson must communicate clearly and maintain his/her emotions as to not worsen the bad news.

To prevent miscommunication, Indra highlighted the importance of identifying and mapping the crisis. Should the situation need it, conduct a special team to specifically handle these tasks. From the identification data, create a briefing document containing a list of things to present.

The spokesperson is not only responsible for communicating through media interviews or press conferences, but also responsible for representing the company through online channels, such as social media.

Do’s and don’ts of crisis management

DO’S DON’TS
Be honest and factual. Lie, make assumptions, speculate, and exaggerate facts.
Admit it if the information is unknown. State that you will look for the answer and present it to the public. Answer every question disregarding the facts.
Immediately correct any false rumor or information. Be too reactive and easily provoked while answering questions.
Be yourself, be passionate. Repeatedly use negative words or sentences.
Actively listen to the public and media. Say ‘no comment’ or get sidetracked.
Use analogies, metaphors, and comparisons to deliver explanations. Badmouth competitors.
Be careful in speaking about numbers or money. Disclose information beyond your responsibility.

Being silent is not the appropriate action when your company is affected by a crisis. It is just like when you are running from a problem, it will haunt you and come back to bite you. This action is not a good look for your company, possibly ruining the company’s image. Stay positive, responsive, and transparent in applying crisis management. Good luck!