Yesterday, I met with a new business prospect who wants to update the company's crisis communication plan - not in response to a recent crisis that was poorly handled, but an actual proactive initiative aimed at being better prepared before a crisis occurs.
To get ready for the meeting, I reviewed its extensive web site and got a great feel for the priorities and the values that drive this company. My initial impression was reinforced during my meeting with the senior leadership team. The customer service focus is truly impressive and serves as a great reminder about the power of a client service oriented culture and what it can mean both to avoiding and responding to crisis situations.
Consider the number of customer interactions that evolve into crisis nightmares because of an indecision or a bad decision that shortchanged a customer. I would say 99 times out of 100, if a company responded to a customer properly at the time of the incident, then it would never have escalated into a crisis. There would be no need for a customer to run to the news media to gain satisfaction. And today, you don't have to run to the news media, because we can create our own content and cause our own headaches for companies. Not servicing customers/clients properly is riskier than ever.
The fact that the leadership team is proactively seeking help with this assignment is quite telling in and of itself. I told them point blank that if the leaders are as committed to its people and customers as they appear, then they are already a long way down the path of developing a successful plan for protecting victims of crisis and, by doing so, keeping the client service oriented brand promise it espouses.
I'm hope I'm fortunate enough to work with them.