There’s one essential truth about businesses; namely, things will at one point or another go wrong. It’s in the nature of business interactions and processes to face unexpected events. Of course, you’ll find a variety of things that can go wrong, from a delayed web launch to a lost parcel. On a one-to-one basis, most situations, however unpleasant they might be, are manageable.
However, when one unplanned obstacle leads to a domino react for your customers and your team, the crisis can seem impossible to manage. A crisis is, by definition, the long-lasting consequences of one undesirable event – whether it is caused by mistakes at a business level or whether it is linked to external factors that are out of your control. One of the most common and dramatic crisis outcomes a company can encounter is the loss of its reputation. How can you best protect your brand image?
The once in a lifetime data breach
Hackers are becoming more and more inventful. So, even for the more secure network, there is a constant risk of penetration. While your company default position shouldn’t be to assume the worst, you need to plan an emergency strategy such as joining the ServiceNow incident response platform for all your cloud computing solutions. When your private cloud is compromised, your data are exposed to hackers. But working with dedicated risk assessment tools that track the security of your solutions in real time lets you create a roadmap of the next step after a crisis.
Your audience expects empathy as much as an explanation
Your audience doesn’t see what happens in your company after a crisis. That’s why it’s vital to maintain a transparent and open line of communication to let everybody know what you plan to do. More importantly, your customers are also the victims in a crisis situation.
They expect more than an explanation as to who did what. They want to know that you acknowledge their pain. When a train derailed in Quebec in 2013 and killed over 40 people, everyone wanted the chairman, Edward Burkhardt to show empathy. His press conference, however, reflected on his net wealth loss and angered the crowd.
Is there any compensation available?
As a rule of the thumb, when your customers have taken a hit during the crisis, it is your role as a responsible business to offer appropriate compensation whenever it’s appropriate. For instance, TSB, a UK bank suffered a catastrophic IT meltdown that froze customer accounts. As a consequence, the bank has lost many of its customers. However, those who chose to stay have received dedicated support and services to resolve the issue. Additionally, the bank has engaged itself to pay out over £115m ($150m) to customers, the necessary compensation to earn their trust back.
Nurture your brand image before anything bad happens
Last, but not least, you can’t protect your reputation if you fail to boost your brand in the first place. Your brand proposition, your mission statement and your overall differentiating details need to be firmly established to survive a crisis.
Can a crisis take your brand down? The answer is yes if you don’t take preventive measures to build an emergency plan. Your reaction to the situation is all about your customers, from empathy to compensation strategies. Last but not least, you can only save brands that are already solid.