Crisis communication DOs and DON’Ts

Have you ever had negative comment or criticism? Did you know how should you reply? Do you have to answer at all? Do you need to give explanation for everything? Could you be more prepared before negative comments even appear on your site/blog/facebook page? If there is a forum where people can publicly criticize you or your business, you must go one step ahead!


> Respond needs to be fast. Don’t risk to seem uncaring and don’t keep secrets. “Facebook pages expect to be responded to within 24 hours and Twitter users within 2 hours”. However you must be quick try to be accurate and as factual as possible – don’t leave angry customers another reason to fight. Make sure to check the facts with your sources and if you’re not sure about the answer, at the very least say you are looking into it. Find the appropriate solution before you give the final answer.
> Flexiblity is a key. Complaint is not always 100% genuine (you need to consider its motivation). Don’t be desperate to please, but anxious to help.
>Don’t start the fights. Don’t get into online arguments, reather step back if possible and engage with the customer in a question, develop a reasonable solution.
>Admit if you have made a mistake. Be sincere. If the complaint is genuine, apology is indispensable. Without resolving the promlem, apology will mean nothing. As an organization it is also a good way of demonstrating your empathy to share what you have learnt through the experiences.
>Use language that is appropriate, “conversations among human beings sound human” Use customer’s names. “Dear customer” is not enough when personal attention is expected.
>Follow-up! Once you have responded, encourage deeper discussion on the topic. It will show that you care and are willing to listen. This way you can add value to conversations and re-build trust. People will notice that you really help them.
>Don’t censor. Charlie Pownall, senior communications specialist said “Realize that critical voices are a price of entry to the social web, and that deleting or demanding changes to negative posts can provide detractors with a powerful rhetorical weapon. Rather, always try to maintain the high ground, be seen to be responsive and listening and deploy a strong legal approach only as the final option: deleting content or threatening bloggers may simply result in the so-called ‘Streisand effect’ as complaints escalate and go viral.”


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