By Ruoro Kairu
Early this week, I met up with a longtime friend of mine. As we were catching up, she told me that she ventured into business towards the end of last year.
She told me business was okay, but it had its fair share of challenges, especially when starting up. Lately, she focused her strength on getting the businesses niche, and once she did, the business has grown. The business is expected to grow as her customer base has been steadily growing over the last few months.
Her one concern, however, was what she should do if the company ever faces a crisis. This fear was increased with the recent disaster that hit a major airline in the region.
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What do you do when a crisis hits your company? How do you ensure customers are still catered for? How do you ensure you grow back and maintain your customer’s trust after a calamity?
When starting out in business, you might not have a crisis management system. However, it is important to have one in place for when an unexpected disaster hits.
A crisis can damage trust relationships you have with your customers. You want to do everything in your power to repair the trust as quickly as possible.
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In one study, it was found that after a calamity, less than 30% of customers will have trust in the brand. Most of the other customers either take time before coming back to the company, and others move to a different brand altogether.
Here are four steps to effectively managing a crisis and winning back your customers.
1. Restore the service
After a crisis, one of the first things you want to do is restore the service as quick as you can. Before you can restore, however, ensure the service is working without any glitches. You do not want to put up a service that is still faulty as this will work against you.
If you can separate the faulty service from the rest of the product, then do so.
There are customers that will still want to continue using your service –ensure the downtime is kept to a minimal.
2. Don’t be defensive
Severally, you’ve seen a calamity hit a company, only for them to come and deny everything.
Remember, trust is built on truth and openness. Customer relationship is no different. When you become defensive, the customer will be able to read in on this, and they assume you’re being defensive because you’re in fault.
However, know that truth and openness does not also mean total transparency. There are a few aspects you might want to keep within the organization.
3. Have efficient customer service
Both during and after the calamity, customers will reach out to you through various means. Some will call, others will take to social media, and others might event attempt to physically avail themselves.
There are different reasons why customers will call, some want to see if it’s safe to use the product, others want to see if you’re still operational, others still, just want to check up on your brand and ensure you’re okay.
You need to ensure your customer service is handling every inquiry coming your way.
The customer service personnel should be trained on how to handle crises. When there is constant communication, customers are more likely to continue using your brand.
4. Handle the crisis
The ultimate goal of having a crisis management system is to get back to full operation as soon as possible. This means handling the crisis.
Look at the most effective way to tackle the crisis. Once it is fully sorted, customers will be more likely to go back to trusting your brand.
In closing, remember that a crisis could hit your organization at any point. The best way to tackle it is to be prepared for what is to come. With the above-mentioned steps, you’ll be able to effectively handle a crisis.