Best case scenario, your ideal crisis response time is 15 minutes.
Wait! Don’t gasp yet…
Your maximum crisis response time should be 1 hour.
OK, now you can gasp!
If your team is unable to respond to a crisis (or issue) within maximum 1 hour, then you need to reevaluate and figure out why.
I work with global enterprises and national organizations and I know that this isn’t always realistic. But it’s the truth.
The fact is, the sooner you enable your team to respond to an incident, whether a crisis or an issue, the sooner you:
- Stop, extinguish and annihilate any existing and/or potential speculation and rumors around the incident
- Meet the expectations of your audience, which in turn connects you closer to them and enables you to strengthen the relationships you share
- Regain control of the situation and give your team the opportunity to turn the negative situation into a positive PR opportunity
Now those are some awesome benefits for quick social response in a crisis, don’t you think?
How can you make 15 – 60 minutes your realistic crisis response time?
First thing’s first, you need to be monitoring. The better you monitor, the more you are aware of what is being said about your brand and the sooner you can detect an existing or looming threat. The sooner you detect the threat, the sooner you’re able to respond to it.
Second thing’s second, you need to be prepared. This means understanding and outlining:
- The difference between a crisis and an issue
- What each mean to your company or organization
- Who is responsible for responding to, and dealing with, what and how
- Holding statements and first response procedures
And last but not least, practice makes perfect. Once you have your crisis and issues teams set up and your crisis and issues communications plan created, it’s time to practice, practice, practice. The risks of crises and issues are heightened today with social media and the realities (and risks) of the online world. The only way to be sure that your team understands and is prepared to manage these online threats is by empowering them to be able to. The more your team practices, the better and quicker you will all become and the more confident you will grow to be.
Remember! The sooner you respond to a crisis or issue situation (even a potential one), the sooner you regain control (or don’t risk losing it) and the least amount of negative repercussions your brand will suffer. Those repercussions can be as severe as long-term reputational damage and a direct hit to your business’s bottom line. And when faced with a crisis situation, the repercussions can last one heck of a long time.