CRISIS MANAGEMENT COMMUNICATION PLAN
The goal of a crisis management communication plan is to convey information as quickly as possible to the desired audience. One of the main reasons people get upset with the way a crisis is handled is because they feel uninformed. That’s why it is important to provide timely and accurate information to those seeking it. The information must be accurate, accessible, and timely.
However, during a crisis, there will be times when you have incomplete information. It’s okay to admit what you don’t know. People will ask for more information than you have, and the worst thing you can do is dig yourself into a deeper hole by speculating or being dishonest about what is actually known.
Before the crisis hits, it is important to have a crisis management communication plan in place. The plan should include key personnel and their roles during a crisis, the communications channels that can be used, as well as your general approach and philosophy during a crisis.
After informing your management team of the crisis at hand, develop an apology message that communicates your solution to the audience. Use the appropriate channel of communication to convey that message to those who would be affected. This includes your followers, stakeholders, coworkers, customers, or anyone who could have seen the original miscommunicated content.
Before you send out your primary message, you should have secondary responses prepared for questions from reactors. This could be as simple as having someone taking phone calls, a crisis FAQ sheet on your social media site or a news release to address the concerns of the public.
When coming up with secondary responses, create a list of objections or potential criticisms. Take opinions from outside sources, to make your list comprehensive and objective. Once you determine what you want your main messages to be, emphasize those key points in all responses to the public.
Be sure that your entire team is aware of their responsibilities in regard to the crisis management communication plan. Your team will be under scrutiny if the crisis escalates so be sure that they are well trained and competent prior to your initial response to the public. Each team member should have weighted responsibility in relation to their role in the organization and the current situation.