I was recently hired by a health care company to create a crisis plan. Their main concern was how to handle a data breach. But when we started talking about other potential scenarios, they readily agreed there were many other things that could trigger a crisis in their business.
Accusations of wrongful death or mistreatment of a patient, government and/or regulatory investigations, alleged malfeasance or cries of fraud are just a few of the things that could explode and disrupt their business operation in a matter of hours (whether they are true or not). Look at the meningitis outbreak, Medicare fraud investigations and inappropriate billing practices by senior executives that have been in the news lately.
Actually, when Nashvillians think about crises that might affect their businesses, sudden disasters such as floods and tornadoes are often top of mind.
However, according to the Institute for Crisis Management, less than a third of business crises are caused by sudden events like natural disasters or violence in the workplace. The other two-thirds are the result of smoldering crises, those that are potentially identifiable, preventable or manageable. And nearly half of all business crises are triggered by management, while a third are caused by employees.
Crisis readiness is a bottom-line issue — just ask any company executive who has faced one and lost revenues, customers or their reputation as a result. If your organization hasn’t encountered one yet, just give it time.
Consider current cultural and environmental factors — the wildfire nature of the Internet, a growing litigious mentality — and it is easy to understand how smoldering problems can quickly flame to “four-alarm” status.
They don’t have to. But avoiding or minimizing a crisis takes vigilance and preparedness..
A crisis communications plan needn’t be long. It provides a framework to use when a crisis arises. It can mean the difference between getting through it with minimal damage and making matters worse with costly missteps.
The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce has made it easy for you. Its Business Response Team has put together an online disaster planning resource that includes a template for crisis communications: You can find it at www.nashvillechamber.com/disasterplanning. It’s a great jumping-off point. Download it and start customizing it today.
And if you need help creating a customized plan and training for your crisis management team, or a review of your existing plan, give Katcher Strategic Communications a call today.
When your crisis comes, it will pay to be ready,