“We’re working on it” can buy more time than you expect
When you encounter a crisis, the pressure to immediately make a statement is immense. Not only will your stakeholders be clamoring for you to talk, and angry if you don’t, but you also risk damaging rumor or innuendo taking root if you don’t communicate quickly
At the same time, you want to gather as many facts as possible before you put out a statement or start granting interviews, and sometimes you just can’t do it as fast as people expect.
What do you do, then, when you desperately need to say something, but you also need more time?
We suggest the crisis management tactic described in the quote below, from an EContent article by Jessica Payne:
Believe it or not, updates about updates are effective.
It sounds duplicative, but sometimes problems take time to solve and your update may simply be that there is no update at that time, but one is coming. People are surprisingly forgiving of organizations the more transparent they are. Something as simple as pointing audiences to a specific time when information will be tweeted, blogged, or live-streamed lessens rising tensions and fears. Just make sure to honor your own deadlines and get the logistics right to mitigate technological glitches. So if tweeting a phone list, website, or emergency information, make sure it is 100% accurate and ready for the surge of traffic to mitigate technological glitches.
In short, saying that you can’t say anything yet is more effective than sitting silent. It lets stakeholders know you’re not ignoring them, and shows you’re working on the issue at hand.
Now, if you do announce a specific time or date when you’ll release more information, it’s very important to actually meet (or beat) that deadline. Fail to, and you’ll immediately be branded as deceitful, certainly not a tag you need to be wearing in the midst of crisis.
Keep the information flowing, and when you can’t say anything yet, let people know. You’d be amazed at how much time this simple crisis management tactic can buy.
The BCM Blogging Team