Every business and brand will have that one issue that will turn into a crisis. In my experience many issues stem from the point of communication (most often a lack thereof).
Bill Gates co-founder of Microsoft notes “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”. While this is true, it is very dependent on the right communication to deal with and diffuse the issue at hand. There are a number of simple steps which can be taken to start dealing with the issue at hand and start to turn the issue into a lesson.
- Take responsibility:
It’s as simple as that. Be accountable, at least for your involvement. This starts to build trust. If the issue has been caused by an external supplier or unforeseen circumstance, do not shift the blame. You or your brand were involved. Accept that and start moving forward. A defensive attitude will not help the solution.
- Identify problems and provide solutions:
It’s important that problems are identified and solved as quickly as possible. Putting future plans in place to prevent this from happening again is also key. Providing solutions or multiple ways forward is imperative as it diffuses tension and begins to correct the overall tone and perception of the brand.
- Show support:
When finding a solution, it’s vital that it is made clear that you are there to help and resolve the issue at hand. By doing this you start to show more trust and position yourself as an open and honest, customer-centric organisation.
Founder of Box.net, Aaron Levie who has built a US$ 600million business, places communication at the very core of his business and states: “You will learn more in a day talking to customers than a week of brainstorming, a month of watching your competitors, or a year of market research”.
So the next time your business or brand faces an issue, communicate well and put your best team on it. You may find you learn more and end up growing your business and brand.