Crisis happens; it’s inevitable. An unfortunate event takes place that affects your brand and it winds up being aired on the news for all to see.
Now, with social media in the mix, crises happen more often because customers are very quick to share a negative experience and others are quick to share or retweet. And then you have a whole new crisis to handle: a social media crisis.
Before we can dive into how to handle a crisis, we must determine what a crisis is. For example, mean tweets talking about a rude leasing professional is not a crisis. A real crisis or disaster could be a shooting or fire or something to do with faulty technology. For example, may your rent payment system double charge residents, or the fancy keyless locks stop working throughout the property. Furthermore, a person tweeting that their new apartment wasn’t clean at move-in isn’t a crises, but a gunman on your property is.
Consider these wise words from Theodore Roosevelt, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” It is crucial to be properly prepared for a crisis to happen to your company or brand. Don’t be a deer in headlights when these crises surface, and more importantly, don’t hope that it will blow over on its own – be prepared and be proactive.
The first step in planning for a crisis is listening. You can’t deal with a crisis if you aren’t aware of it. Use social media tools to use as a listening protocol. From there you must consider who is listening to the social web and when, for what are they listening, and who is covering nights and weekends?
After you have created your plan, come up with a variety of scenarios and have fire drills to practice responding to crisis related issues. Remember this rule when scribing your responses: keep it short. Brevity is your friend. You won’t be able to please everyone and that is okay as long as your response doesn’t come across defensive, and you are letting the customer be right even if they aren’t. A positive and thoughtful response can help to convert the unhappy customer into an advocate and can turn a negative social media conversation around for the better.
The reality is crises happen to everyone, and if it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will soon. But with a strategy in place with thorough social listening, planning, training, and troubleshooting, you will be able to put out fires and give a resident crisis a happy or positive ending.