There’s a saying that even the best-laid plans can go awry when least expected. A product recall, false accusations on social media, or a data breach are real threats to a business and its ability to operate. Preparation is key to handling a crisis and handling it well. Following are three ways to handle some of the more common issues a business faces and prevent loss of reputation.
Handling a Product Recall
Product recalls tend to be rare, but it’s important to have a plan in place for such an event. A recall has the potential to damage a company’s reputation if not handled right. Put together social media responses, advertising notifications, broadcast media contacts, and create a list of customers who have supplied the company with their contact information. The faster a business responds to a problem, the better. For inspiration, take a look at Samsung’s recall of the Galaxy S7 after the batteries were found to be explosive. It’s a good example of how to handle a recall and maintain a good public image of the corporation.
Responding to a Social Media Firestorm
Social media is a wonderful way to spread information about your product to generate buzz, but it can also backfire. All it takes is one disgruntled customer to create a firestorm. The customer puts up an angry post slamming the product, and then her friends share the post in an effort to provide support.
The best plan for responding to the problem is to address the customer directly and politely. Offer to repair, replace, or provide a refund on their post. Always remain calm and don’t get drawn into an argument. Stick to the offer and let the customer respond. Your effort to make the customer whole is visible for all to see even if the customer doesn’t respond in kind. It helps your business save face and shows that your company cares enough to respond and repair the problem.
Planning for a Data Breach
How you respond to a data breach depends on the size of your organization and the type of data stored within, but never ignore the situation. Target lost millions of dollars after their infamous credit card database breach in 2013 because the corporation failed to take appropriate action. The worst thing to do is panic. Instead, determine what information was accessed without authorization, who’s affected and how many, and notify law enforcement agencies of the breach. Make sure IT is working on quarantining the unaffected information, then move onto notification of banks, credit reporting agencies, and contact identity theft protection operations for assistance. The faster you move, the less damage there is, and the more reassured customers feel.
Make the best possible plans to handle these situations and others. How you respond in the immediate aftermath is of infinite value to you and your company going forward. Proper response reduces financial losses, preserves the positive identity of the business, and retains customers for the long-term.