How do you structure a crisis management plan? What should you do to create a crisis management plan for your store? Despite being an important task, the good news is that there are several practices that make it simpler to be performed!
What is a Crisis Management Plan (CMP)?
A crisis management plan (CMP) outlines how to respond to a critical situation that would negatively affect an organization’s profitability, reputation or ability to operate.
How to Structure a Crisis Management Plan
Creating a crisis management plan will involve the following.
1. Map the risks
The work of crisis management actually starts before any problems occur. The first step is to evaluate your store as a company. It could be, for example, a SWOT analysis, but the focus should be on Threats and Weaknesses. In summary, find out what internal and external factors can put your business at some kind of risk.
Imagine that one of the weaknesses is in a supplier’s logistics service. This issue should be part of a structured report to map all the risks involved in the transaction. By centralizing this information, your team is able to define the most urgent points and outline strategies to reduce their potential negative impacts.
2. Assembling a team to deal with crises
As much as a crisis can arise in any sector of your store and fall into the hands of any professional, it is important to have a more dedicated and exclusive group to solve any problems. It can even be mounted while mapping Threats and Weaknesses. The idea is to bring together professionals who are most interested in the subject to create the most efficient ideas.
Among other tasks, they will be responsible for directly dealing with crises, and organizing the store so that the damage is not so great. This encompasses both the production of a statement after a serious error in the store and the guidance of the rest of the team on how to proceed in certain situations. Need to renegotiate or charge a partner? This team should be directly responsible.
3. Thoroughly ascertain the data of what happened
From the moment a problem starts and the crisis sets in, it’s time to act. But it is essential not to despair, regardless of the situation experienced. The first step, therefore, is to ascertain everything that is being reported. What is the problem? What is the source? Who is contesting? What should be done?
Have some consumers gathered data about e-commerce that show a disregard for their feedback? It’s important not to let anyone respond with a hothead. Even if the complaints are not legitimate, the posture must be one of caution and care. The ideal scenario is to transfer the most relevant information to the responsible group so that they can make the most appropriate decision.
4. Make sure you listen to the customer
The previous point reinforces what should be done next: listen to what the consumer has to say. It doesn’t matter if it was a comment on the social network or a bad rating on your website: you need to give your customer a voice and better understand what he is asking, contesting or suggesting. Always with caution, it is important to filter this information.
Have you collected and pondered everything that was said? Great. Now is the time to find out what actually happened. Whose responsibility was it? From the store? Of the Supplier? Or did the customer himself make a mistake when selecting the delivered product? These details should be part of the analysis for more accurate and efficient decision-making.
5. Offer answers and solutions quickly
Another key point for efficient crisis management is agility when it comes to presenting solutions and answers to customers or the general public. After verifying everything that happened and those responsible, it is important to be transparent. Admitting a mistake or reporting what really happened are essential attitudes.
Often, your store’s image may have already been harmed due to comments and ratings, but the longer the business takes to fix — or take a stand — the worse the problem will be. Therefore, it is important to already know how to behave in specific cases, avoiding wasting valuable time until finding the solution.
A customer dissatisfied with the quality of the product that was delivered will make fewer negative comments about your store in case of a quick and helpful response. In some situations, an initial moment of crisis can turn out to be a positive case. After all, problems do happen, and consumers know it too. Quick and sure action can completely reverse the picture.
6. When necessary, make the solution public
Sometimes, the crisis is greater than a one-off problem with a client. In this case, it is necessary to take a public stand. In addition to being a way to provide the necessary clarifications to those interested, this is a way to be transparent. You can explain what happened and describe the solutions you are taking.
What about Post-Crisis Management?
It is a mistake to think that the work of management ends after the crisis is overcome. At this point, care must be taken to ensure that the problem does not reoccur. Have you ever thought about the image left to your customers after making the same mistake a short time later, for example?
When negative situations are repeated frequently, patience tends to wear out quickly. As a result, your store’s reputation is also directly affected.
After all, if the problem was fixed, but it happened again, what is the message conveyed to your customer? Nothing was done internally to prevent it from repeating itself. Because of this, it is essential to learn from mistakes.
Thus, crises and negative moments can be valuable for expanding the enterprise’s professionalism. They represent the time to look carefully at what has been done, identify the hits and misses, and try to provide a better experience for your customers.
In this way, more than taking care of a specific issue, your store is able to continuously increase the brand’s added value. So, instead of worrying about how to restart your company, the focus is on correcting the points that generated some kind of problem for the public.
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