Avoiding a PR Crisis When Your Startup Software Fails
Have you heard about the biggest security breach of all time when data is stolen from more than a billion Yahoo accounts? The answer to this crisis brings to mind a great notion first popularized by Steve Jobs – that mistakes are essential for innovation, but in the end, “it is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your innovation.”
There are a few successful steps that offer guidance when these situations happen that help prevent a grand-scale crisis and allow startups to fix common PR mistakes:
1) Have a plan ready
When mistakes happen, the only way to prevent a bigger mistake that would cost the brand and startup, is to be a step ahead and have an initial public relations contingency plan: one that will guarantee business continuity. Protecting your brand and your clients from any kind of loss, and responding immediately and effectively once an unexpected event happens, are key factors in any crisis.
It takes assessment and analysis first to make sure your business and plans comply with existing standards. Next, pinpoint the soft spots as well as system essentials to support a startup working in worst case scenario circumstances.
Once you know what could possibly go wrong, experts in the field can assess the risks and possible problems, as well as make list of solutions and backup plans for quick recovery. This plan should be a detailed guide with all possible preventive measures and procedures for alleviating the impact of a crisis. This should also be revised and updated on a regular basis.
2) Honesty is the best policy
In a modern and constantly connected world, where publishing and information distribution platforms are at hand, word spreads quickly – and is often inaccurate. Make sure to get a hold of the situation before there is a “story” to be told among your industry peers or in the media.
The best prevention in today is to have a social media policy defined and distributed internally within the organization. Once the crisis is underway, it should be immediately addressed in a clear and straightforward way by a transparent statement. Offering appropriate compensation or announcing a plan for compensation for the inconvenienced customers is also a good idea that buys patience.
The main principle to keep in mind is the good, old saying that “the customer is always right.” Retaining or regaining customer and peer trust is essential in a crisis and an instant, clear reaction most often achieves that. Both a strong PR plan and great customer relationships tend to save the day, even in the worst of cases.
3) Have a backup and a fail safe
To keep the startup operations safe, things like source code escrow services guarantee a backup solution for the storage and protection of startup data. Being able to provide customers, especially enterprise users, a way to restore data in disaster cases can save the startup overall. The assurance that this solution exists and is in place is enough to gain customers’ trust prior to any crisis and retain that trust throughout a crisis.
If and when plan A doesn’t work, you should move to plan B – a final backup plan to ensure the further safety of the data and business continuity, at least for your customers if not for your startup. Offering additional service or support during any disruption of operation will gain bonus points. If impossible to continue delivering a service, offer your customers a similar software solution with another company.
Everyone fails, but once you have a good plan, timely assessment of the possible business risks and backup solutions, you will be to act promptly and in an effective manner in a PR crisis. Salvaging our brand and relationships during a crisis, even if you realize your business will and is failing, will matter in the long run. After all, if your startup fails, you’re not planning on ending your career there. A startup that fails well and manages to leave its customers and partners happy despite that failure will have a future in the market, one way or another.
We hope you found the above promoted content as entertaining and helpful as we did!
Here is a Top 5 Motivational Speaker for your next event!