Crisis Management: How Should Your Brand Respond To Adversity?
The recent chicken shortage crisis at KFC highlights the importance of having an effective crisis management strategy to hand when things go wrong. Because while you may not run out of chicken, something will go wrong with your business at some point – that much is guaranteed.
How important is crisis management? Look at it this way: if a chicken joint runs out of chicken, it’s pretty bad; it’s like Heinz running out of beans or M&S running out of knickers. But KFC actually handled the situation pretty well, in fact, the way they handled it likely gained them more fans than if they’d done the usual and released a long-winded and apologetic statement.
So, what can we learn from KFC’s crisis management strategy?
Acknowledgement is key
In the era of social media, you cannot bury your head in the sand and pretend nothing has happened. In some cases, your customers will start spreading the word before you’re even aware there is a problem. So, once you’re aware of the problem, it’s best to acknowledge it straightaway and then get to work fixing it.
Get customer service involved
When you release a statement, whether it’s via a press release or social media, you must first engage with your customer service team. There’s nothing worse for a customer than contacting customer service, only to be told a different story from the official version. So share the statement with the customer service team and remember to keep them updated as the problem works its way to resolution.
Keep the conversation going
When a crisis hits, it’s tempting to get the initial message out there and then keep your head down until it blows over. But with social media, your customers are going to keep the conversation going whether you are part of it or not. So it’s a good idea to keep engaging with people so they stay updated on any potential fix. This is also a good time to share special offers for any affected customers. This should help spread the word that you actually care.
Don’t fall into the blame game
When things go wrong, most people look for someone to blame, but you should resist the temptation and focus on the fix instead. Your customers don’t want to hear about your unreliable suppliers, unresponsive staff, new computer systems or vehicle breakdowns. They just want to know when the problem will be fixed and when normal service will be resumed. Feel free to make light of the matter, but don’t pass the buck or put the blame on someone else’s shoulders.
Good crisis management is about communicating your message effectively, but you can only do that if you have a well thought out CM plan in place. Think about the things that can go wrong with your business and devise a strategy to deal with them quickly and efficiently. When it comes to communicating with customers you may have to think on your feet a little bit, but if you get the message out there and keep your customers engaged throughout the process, you won’t go far wrong. Who knows, you may even win more customers as a result!