A communication crisis is always on the top of the lists of things that marketing professionals never want to encounter. Previously, in everyday marketing, whenever a crisis was at hand, a company would have a couple hours or maybe even a day or two to plan out a response. However, the immediacy of social media has put the customer in direct contact with businesses and responses are expected sometimes in a matter of minutes.
Most self storage facilities will never face any major scandal or blowup on social media or other but it is still wise to plan for any possible scenario that could end up affecting your sales. A plan should outline the relevant contacts and how they should be contacted when it comes to dealing with a public issue online.
You should always pay attention to what is being said about your brand online. Signing up for Google Alerts is a great way to keep your ear on the ground in the online community. You may choose to get alerts as soon as they become available or once a day, depending on your preference. Also sign up for alerts on your direct competitors so that you can be made aware of any recent developments they might make.
In the unfortunate event that a crisis arises, acknowledge it as quickly as possible. Speak the facts, as clearly and openly as possible and let your customers know that you have nothing to hide. In cases where someone at your self storage facility has made a mistake, own up to it and provide possible solutions. People will respect your brand more if they see you deal with situations like these and end up turning it into something positive.
Allow people to vent if necessary about the situation. You should of course monitor it but allow people to voice their opinions. If you always delete negative comments without addressing them, then your audience will be under the impression that your brand is not trustworthy. Show the public that you can handle criticism in a mature manner and this will help to build a loyal customer base. You can dedicate a section on your website for comments or just respond to people on your Facebook page or via Twitter. Also ensure that you keep your cool while responding to the negative criticism.
Negative criticism, if addressed promptly and in a cordial manner, can be turned into a powerful marketing tool. People will know you are human and as such mistakes are made, but handling it in a timely and positive fashion puts your company, and yourself, at the top, as a person that recognizes when something went wrong. Also, some people may try to vent in the heat of the moment without realizing that the mistake was in their part and when confronted with a positive remark and a willingness to address the issue it makes them take a step back and look at all the angles of the problem, most of the time they will end up apologizing to you. When you handled the issue and you showed respect and care, the customer will take that at heart and keep buying from you, and what is most important, he or she will keep recommending you, and that my friend is priceless.
If your self storage business has ever been faced with a crisis, then you will already know that it is a tasking experience. A crisis via social media is no different. All it takes is an ample amount of people sharing information for it to go viral. However, the last thing you want to do is to stay out of the public when handling a crisis. Be visible and transparent on social media in order to fix the issues. There is no formula for solving a social media crisis but taking the recommendations outlined above can help you to efficiently manage one.