3 C’s of Crisis Management

Crisis management is important to any organization – from small one-person shop to large enterprises.  And crises do not need to be all negative events, they could be unexpected positives that suddenly shine the media spotlight on your business.  However, many do associate most crises with being a negative media event – such as a scandal, poor customer service, etc.  With so many crises going viral on the internet, it is essential that any organization stay on top of crisis management.

When thinking about crisis management, one should always remember the 3 C’s.  They are care, compassion, and convey optimism.  If you stick to these points, you will be able to navigate through the crisis with grace.  It doesn’t make any crisis disappear, but what it will show is a company that is caring and compassionate, and is taking positive steps to move forward.

Care

The first “C” is care.  I would guess that at least half of all crises companies face come from a previous lack of caring on the company’s part.  Media doesn’t care about the story in which the company did something wrong, a customer complained, then a caring service rep remedied it.  Media cares about the companies that are “bullies” to their customers, and show no caring whatsoever.

As a result, an crisis message must start with a sign of caring by the company.  If it is a poor customer service experience – just admit that you were wrong and that you believe the individual complaining was mistreated by your company.  If it is something more serious like potential fraud, highlight how you are examining the matter quickly and cooperating with authorities.  If it is something like the unexpected death of a founder, express your sadness at his loss.

Whatever the situation is, it is essential that you show you care!

 

Compassion

The second “C” is compassion.  Along with caring, you must show compassion for the individual or group for which the crisis is occurring.  If it is a customer complaint, sympathize with the individual complaining that you personally wouldn’t have appreciated the customer service received.  If it is a serious offense, like fraud, show compassion for potential victims.

Whatever the case is, it is important for the company to be compassionate to the individuals and to the situation.  You don’t want to further alienate anyone involved in the crisis, and a lack of compassion to their cause/belief could do just that.  And so, if you aren’t careful, you could make the situation worse.

 

Convey Optimism

The last “C” is convey optimism.  This one may sound a bit off in a crisis, but it does help.  Basically, you want to end any conference with an optimistic resolution that will solve the issue at hand.  For a customer issue, convey your resolve to solve the issue to the customer’s satisfaction.  This can go a long way towards painting your company in a positive light.  A good example of this is “and we are trying to get in touch with Customer X to see how we can remedy the situation to their satisfaction.  We look forward to being able to rectify this quickly.”

For something more serious, where a resolution could be inappropriate, you could keep it to “We will get through this as a team…” or something similar.  Whatever the case may be, it is essential that you end your response on an optimistic note.

 

Important Things To Think About

When crafting your crisis message, it is essential that you ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What Message Am I Delivering?
  2. Why Am I Delivering This Message?
  3. What Will My Audience Get Wrong With My Message?

This last bit of proofreading can save you from having a larger crisis going forward.  You want to ensure that you are delivering a message that addresses the 3 C’s, and you want to make sure that it is clear why you are delivering this message.  If you message doesn’t show care and compassion, it may look like you are being forced to deliver the message, or you may have so other motive for delivering the message.

Finally, you need to always ask yourself “what will my audience get wrong with my message?”  This is a great way to check yourself, and advert any potential escalation of the crisis.

 

Readers, have you ever had to deal with a crisis in your business?

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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