We first want to send our prayers out to all of those affected by the floods in Colorado. In hearing this devastating news the last few days, Jennifer and I got thinking about crisis management. Not necessarily from national disasters (although it’s always important to have stored food and water on hand!), but a crisis that could affect our small businesses. Fortunately for Cristophe Salon Newport Beach, we haven’t had to deal with any major crisis, although we’ve always been prepared. This week, we wanted to share our advice on how to deal with business crises.
Determine who your spokesperson will be: If a crisis situation arises, you should have a designated team member in the company to be the spokesperson. If you are unavailable, it’s extremely important to have a backup ready to handle incoming calls and emails from concerned friends, family or media. If you work with a marketing or public relations team, make sure all employees know to provide their information to anyone requesting details.
Establish a chain of command: Beyond a spokesperson, determine who is responsible for making decisions during a crisis. If you’re not available, who is next in command? Make sure the chain of command knows to call the local police, 911 and/or building security and report the crisis, if necessary. You will also want to have your insurance company’s information handy for any severe damage or stolen goods. If you work with a PR team, make sure they are aware of what’s going on. At Cristophe Salon Newport Beach, we work with a public relations team and know to inform them as soon as possible with any information. This way, if media members or the public become aware of the situation, they are ready to go with appropriate prepared statements.
Put strategic policies in place: It’s important to think through potential crisis situations and put policies in place for your business so everyone is as prepared as possible. Many businesses do this and keep this ‘crisis communication plan’ on file. You can then inform your current team as well as put the policy and procedures in your new hire documents so everyone is prepared. Thinking through potential situations and creating policies will help eliminate panic if/when these situations arise and help your team deal with the situation appropriately.
Step back and assess the situation: As long as you are not in danger, take a moment to assess the situation and determine your next actions. If you have the aforementioned policies in place, follow what you previously brainstormed to deal with the situation effectively. If not, take a moment to determine whether you need to close the business for the day. Do you need to inform absent team members what happened? Do you need to let clients or customers know? If the crisis is minor, it’s probably good to inform your team but keep the alarm rate down. However, if the crisis is major or can put anyone in danger, make sure no one else puts themselves at risk.
Have you ever had a business crisis? How did you handle it?