This blog was originally posted on smallbizmusings.com, but it was so good we had to share it again.
Public relations can only do so much. PR practitioners can build brand awareness, attract attention to new products, manage a crisis and so much more. What we can’t do, is run your company. PR Daily News says it best, PR can minimize the damage caused by operational and managerial missteps, but it can’t fix stupid.
When a company messes up, there are several ways to handle it. Below is what I recommend and there are plenty of tales to scare you into doing so.
- Everyone screws up at some point, but do you keep making the same mistakes? Learn when shit goes wrong, build processes that will alleviate your customer’s pain points. Educate your employees and give them the autonomy to implement the right solution, even if it isn’t mapped out in your standard operating procedures.
- Communicate well. Whether this is ongoing communication with your customers or right after shit hits the fan, do it often and well. Whether you like it or not, social media exists and your customers are using it. Don’t be scared, this offers you a great opportunity to interact and catch issues before they become gigantic snafus.
- Be human. Be empathetic, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. You have the opportunity to take a really awful situation and turn it around and show that you are more than a million or billion dollar company. If the same thing happened to you, how would you want to be treated?
- Be honest. If you screwed up, admit and then detail how you will prevent this from happening again. As consumers, we want to know that you care and that you can own up to wrongdoing if and when it happens.
- Invest. Put your money where your mouth is. Are you properly training your employees to deal with tough situations? Are they taught problem solving, empathy, and more?
These are all suggestions your PR counsel will suggest, will you take them up on it?