Companies of all sizes can get hit with an unexpected crisis for many different reasons. Perhaps the company disappointed some important customers or missed a detail that snowballed into a significant problem that ultimately tarnished the company’s public image.

Anytime you make a mistake, it’s hard to accept—and it can be even harder to fix. But when companies face a crisis, they can’t quit. They have to address the issue directly, learn from it, and work to regain the public’s trust.

Below are four steps your company can take to help recover from a crisis:

Identify your allies.

It’s essential to have support when rebuilding trust with the public. Reach out to former or current partners, vendors, and customers who will vouch for you. These allies can provide an independent, third-party endorsement for your company as you recover from the crisis. This support can often persuade customers and other audiences to give you a second chance.

Make it suitable for those who’ve been impacted.

One of the best ways to win back trust is to get those affected and disgruntled to change their minds. Can you provide loyalty gifts, reimbursements, or other offerings to demonstrate your commitment to them? Even little gestures can go a long way—if they’re appropriate for the situation and show that you are doing the right thing.

Make changes and tell people about them.

Once you’ve thoroughly investigated the crisis and developed solutions, make the needed modifications inside your company to ensure the problem can’t happen again. This could mean policy changes, a leadership shakeup, or new procedures. Once you’ve made those changes, share the details with your employees, the media, and other stakeholder groups. By sharing this information, you might successfully close the chapter on the crisis at hand.

Share the positive news.

Once you feel you’ve addressed the crisis, you need to share all the positive things your company is doing. You don’t want a past situation to continue to affect your company’s reputation and bottom line. Your recovery may include a rigorous Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign to push down negative search results about your organization. It may also require you to work extensively with media outlets to make sure they understand how you’ve addressed the crisis.

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