The effects of a poor crisis strategy can linger long after the event is over, not only affecting public safety but long-term company trust. No matter what industry you’re in, whether it's a corporate office or law enforcement, crisis situations are some of the most difficult you’ll have to manage.
In such high-risk, high-pressure, and time-poor environments, it’s easy to make mistakes during emergency situations. But if your crisis communications are handled poorly, what comes after the crisis can be just as devastating as the event itself. The most debilitating thought for many business leaders after a crisis is that many of the costs could’ve been avoided with better planning.
So, what exactly are the costs of not having an effective crisis communications strategy in place?
“The judgments delivered in the court of public opinion can be just as devastating to your business as those passed in a court of law."
In an interconnected world, it’s not just legal consequences that companies have to worry about. Often, the judgments delivered in the court of public opinion can be just as devastating to your business as those passed in a court of law. If not handled correctly, the outcome of a crisis can have a profound effect on your company’s integrity and financial worth, which could take months or even years to restore.
Plus, when it comes to the mental health of staff and faculty, if your crisis response doesn't adhere to established core values, you risk losing a significant piece of your workforce.
In crisis situations, time becomes more important than ever. You need to be able to respond to issues in real-time, but without modern communications software in place, the process of administering contact data and other emergency procedures will need to be done manually. And in simple business math, more time plus more people equals more unnecessary costs added to your operational budget.
There’s a lot at risk in a crisis; risks which obviously differ depending on your industry and on the severity of the individual event. If you don’t have a crisis communications strategy in place before crisis strikes, you increase the likelihood of communication breakdown and process failure, which in turn leaves your company open to a number of costly liabilities.
The key is setting your emergency management team up for success long before an event should occur.
Unfortunately, the stress of a crisis seldom ends with the event itself. After the situation has been resolved, regulators and clients may require evidence of your company’s compliance with the relevant policies and procedures. Don't let this be a learning experience you regret.
If you haven’t implemented communications software that allows you to automatically report such specifics as ‘who said what to who and when,' it may cost your company months of effort and multiple resources to create the required documentation.
Loss of life
Personal safety is the most important piece of effective crisis communication. After all, having the ability to execute timely and accurate communications in a crisis scenario is about more than protecting your company’s reputation.
In some cases, delays or confusion in your communication can have disastrous, unacceptable, and, ultimately, avoidable consequences. The loss of human life is the most disastrous outcome of any crisis situation, and when action can be taken in advance to prevent it, there’s no question of whether or not to take it.
It’s impossible to know in advance what the outcome of any given crisis will be. The only thing that remains consistent across all crisis scenarios is: that the less negative impact, the better. With a bit of pre-planning and audits on a regular basis, plus the right technologies integrated into your system before crises even occur, you can minimize organizational costs both during and after the event, and save yourself the loss of everything from brand reputation to human life.