A crisis can happen at any time and take many forms: a construction site accident, inappropriate behavior by an employee, or a disgruntled client posting on social media. While you can’t always prevent a situation from happening, there are steps you can take to minimize its impact on your business’ reputation. Consider these crisis management tips.

1. Actively Communicate

When a crisis, such as a jobsite accident, happens, people tend to speculate quickly about what happened. It’s important to get the facts right before you respond to the public. Speak to anyone who was involved, including the members of your team, to get as much accurate information as possible. Make a communication plan that includes this information to ensure everyone is on the same page:

  • Contact information for everyone who needs to be informed of updates, such as your client or team, and who should contact them;
  • A list of questions that reporters or social media followers may ask and your answers, so you can consistently respond with accurate information; and
  • To whom your client should refer any questions they receive from media or on social media and how they should contact this person.

For smaller crises, like a negative online review, you may not need a robust communication plan, but it can be helpful to talk to involved team members and think through responses before replying to an upset customer.

2. Respond Promptly

If you’re dealing with a negative review or disgruntled client on social media, it’s important to keep in mind that your social media followers—in other words, potential customers—can see how you’re responding. Replying promptly will show that your company is reputable and cares for its customers. Share appreciation for the feedback and explain how you’ll right the situation. If you think the conversation may continue, consider sharing a phone number or email address where the person can reach you to talk more without your followers watching.

If you receive questions from the media, you should also reply promptly, even if it’s just to let them know that you’re still gathering information and can’t respond until you have all the facts. Not responding or saying “no comment” can make it look like you have something to hide.

3. Be Professional

When a negative situation affects your business, it’s hard not to take it personally. Take a deep breath and remember that how you respond will affect your business’ reputation. Stick to the facts and never share anything you wouldn’t want a reporter to publish or followers to share on social media. Be sympathetic—most people who share a complaint are just looking for someone to listen and help right the situation. By doing so, you’ll earn your customers’ trust.

Big or small, any crisis can threaten your business’ reputation. By following these crisis management strategies, you can minimize the impact a situation will have on your company’s success.

Visit the ABC Supply blog for more tips, including how to respond to negative reviews.