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Crisis Management – turning a negative into a positive

06.01.20
Crisis Managment - Turning negative to positive

The impact of not getting important information through to your customers?

Just imagine that a problem is found with one of your most popular products or services, meaning you have to contact all your customers to offer a solution or replacement. How would your service team, or your outsource customer service partner, cope?

Now, stop imagining and start planning. The last 12 months has seen some major brands fall foul of poorly handled product recalls or poorly communicated service failures. Nat West’s Black Friday experience was a prime example, where a lack of regular updates about the bank’s online banking failure, on the busiest online shopping day of the year, created further frustration for thousands of customers, who shared their discontent across social media. By not updating customers, the bank gave the impression they didn’t care, while no doubt they were working very hard to resolve the problem. Worse still, there was no apology once the issue was resolved leaving many customers feeling let down.

Product recalls, if not handled well, can have a very detrimental effect on a brand. Recalls are relatively common in sectors such as automotive, electrical appliances and pharmaceuticals. They must be handled well as the corporate consequences of failure can be serious. The reputational damage can be difficult to recover from, but more importantly, in some cases, there can be a genuine threat to personal safety.

How would you get critical messaging to all your customers?

If you had to get essential information to every single customer, how would you do it? If your customer service planning doesn’t include this as a possibility, there’s a risk that a product problem will result in a huge influx of inbound enquiries, flooding your team and leaving many customers unhappy with your performance. By getting ahead of the problem and proactively communicating with your customers, dissatisfaction can be minimised. A well-handled problem can result in genuine brand advocates, but a badly handled one can irreparably damage your brand reputation.

Critical messaging solutions can vary – using different channels according to the needs of the clients. However, they tend to be built on an initial SMS (text message) transmission. SMS messages, on average, achieve delivery and open rates of well over 90%, so with a suitably clear message, a huge number of customers can be reached and engaged extremely quickly and inexpensively.

The initial SMS will usually contain a call to action, a link, or rich media for an app like experience, that enables customers to self-serve and take control of their own problem resolution. This could be to make an engineer appointment or to arrange collection of a defective product. This is much more resource efficient than waiting for inbound enquiries following a news story or even a proactive email campaign.

Customers are also given the option to engage via SMS or social media to ask questions: this is also far more cost-effective than prompting calls, as agents can typically handle four text conversations at one time, and customers are more accepting of slower response rates via SMS or social chat (via your brand’s Facebook page, for example) than on the phone.

When you compare the self-serve option to staffing up your customer service department, or securing outsourced seats to handle a massive spike in demand, it is both cheaper and quicker, reaching customers more effectively and delivering the required results with minimum human involvement. This is more likely to result in more satisfied customers, despite the obvious initial bad news about their purchase.

How do you turn a negative situation to your advantage?

So, by adopting a proactive, planned approach to dealing with critical messaging, your brand can:

• Reach your customers quickly
• Get resolutions acted on efficiently
• Allow your customer service team to focus on just the complex cases
• Maximise cost effectiveness
• Convert potential brand damage into happy customers


At CCP we work with specialist partners who are able to deliver the latest crisis management and critical messaging solutions, so if you have any customer service issues, or are concerned that your business is not setup to handle a crisis, get in touch. We’d love to help.

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