Customer Experience News & Trends

Your crisis affects customers? Take these 3 steps quickly

Big or small, a crisis in your organization that affects customers needs fast action. Are you ready? 

Business crises come in many forms – production breakdowns, competitor breakthroughs, data breaches, failed products, etc.

Your first move in handling a crisis is critical to keeping customers satisfied once the smoke clears.

Take these three strategic steps suggested by the authors of Predictable Results in Unpredictable Times:

1. Push the reset button

Determine exactly how the crisis affects:

  • customers’ products or services
  • immediate business outcomes, or
  • short-term personal expectations.

2. Refocus priorities

Shift from what you normally do to concentrate on the work that delivers the most value to customers at the moment. That might be arranging other products or services for them to use or helping them prepare for delays. What’s important is that the new, highest priorities reduce:

  • damage to or quality of customers’ products or services
  • ill effects on customers’ business operations – in the physical, financial and safety realms, and
  • burden to recover on customers and their businesses.

In other words, when it’s your crisis, you want to minimize what customers have to do to get through and rebound from it.

Stay focused on those priorities until your crisis is resolved.

3. Fix it

With priorities in place, you want to create a plan to fix the crisis in both the short- and long-term.

It’s OK to have a two-step solution, one to stop the bleed quickly and get your operations back on track in the least amount of time with as little effect on as few customers as possible. Let customers know the short-term plan, how long it should take to fix the issue and what you’ll do to help them in that time frame.

Also explain that you’ll do more when the initial problem is shored up, and that part of the plan is to compensate them for any issues your crisis caused them.

Bonus step: Review

After the dust has settled, you want to review the processes that led you to the crisis, its discovery and steps taken following the discovery. Not only do you want to do an analysis of how the issue could’ve been prevented, you’ll want to consider if the existing processes best serve customers.

In the review, try to identify areas where you can eliminate potential issues and create more value for customers going forward.

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