You may think of crisis communication training as a luxury that companies only need to consider when they have the time, funding, and resources.
You may also think of it in terms of the formal education universities and colleges provide. As a result, you may overlook important ways your business could improve its operations with short-yet-effective crisis communications training.
Enrolling on an intensive, industry-certified training course is different from your education at a university or college. There's no one to guide you through material or answer your questions with both academic and self-directed studies. KC Academy training courses, for example, are delivered by industry professionals and practitioners who are experts in their field and who know the subject well enough to help others excel at it. Education serves as the foundation for knowledge; training helps apply it strategically within a workplace setting.
When we're talking about crisis communication, this distinction becomes important — because even if we all know how to write a good press release or identify steps for damage control after an incident goes viral on social media, most organizations don't have the time (or desire) to master these skills without some form of help.
So to answer the reason "why", we've put together key reasons you should invest in Crisis Communication training.
Control Your Messaging and Narrative
When your brand is the focus of a crisis, it's essential to ensure that messaging from your company is consistent. This means having a centralized message that all staff can adapt and speak on your behalf.
By training your customer and public-facing employees, you can be confident that there is consistency in your messaging. Having aligned communication during a crisis also ensures that your brand's message remains clear to customers and other relevant stakeholders. Of course, consistency does not mean stifling—your staff should still be empowered to answer questions when they feel appropriate. However, make sure everyone knows who has the right to approve the final messaging, and employees are not to put out statements on their own.
For example, at KC Academy, our training courses teach you the fundamentals of crisis communication, such as setting up multiple communication channels, including social media accounts, email addresses and phone numbers dedicated explicitly to handling customer inquiries during the incident. You can also consider establishing a contact page with frequently asked questions and answers on your website so people know where they can turn for more information if needed.
Protect Your Organization's Reputation
Your organization's reputation can be the cornerstone of its success. Like a person's reputation, it can take years to build and moments to lose. If your company doesn't do its due diligence in crisis management, you could already be sitting on a powder keg of potential negative publicity. But if you don't have a plan to protect your reputation or maintain control of information dissemination in case of an unethical act—or even an accident that gets construed as unethical—you could very well find yourself the subject of bad press or public outcry.
It happens all the time: a whistle-blower exposes illegal activity at their place of work, or something goes wrong, and there's blame laid at someone's feet, whether rightly or wrongly. Maybe your CEO is caught stealing from another charity, and perhaps a driver falls asleep at the wheel and causes an accident that kills several people.
Whatever the scenario, being prepared for anything is key to protecting everything you've built over time—and, even more critical, keeping up the trust of your clients and customers during difficult times.
Reduce the Impact on Your Brand
When something goes wrong in your organization, the business impact can be significant. Customers leave, partners get nervous, and stockholders get jumpy. If you don't know how to handle the crisis, you'll find your company in hot water as the negative publicity spills over into every facet of your operation.
Crisis communication training can help reduce these impacts by teaching you how to manage a crisis before it happens. Your key people need to understand how situations arise and what needs to be done to deal with them effectively. You need to identify all possible scenarios and have plans in place for each one so that when a problem does occur, you can react quickly and effectively.
Minimize Financial Losses
When many businesses are struggling, it's more crucial than ever to find ways to minimize losses and maximize gains.
The cost of crisis communication training is much lower than a PR crisis or lawsuit, both of which can lead to higher turnover rates and financial losses. In fact, according to the PwC Governance Insights Centre report on Crisis Management: A survey of US board members, CEOs and CFOs, most respondents said that the cost of their most recent crisis was between $1 million and $50 million. Other studies have shown that simply responding well during an emergency can help build consumer trust in your brand.
If you want to ensure your company is getting the best deal for its money, consider hiring an experienced trainer who offers custom pricing based on the number of participants involved.
Restore Customer Trust
It's one thing to have a public relations crisis, but it's another to recover. The first step is to restore trust. After a PR snafu, your customers need to know that they can still trust you and that the information they share with you is safe.
How do you tell them? The best way to restore trust is by being transparent and honest about what went wrong and how you plan on fixing it. Again, crisis communication training will help prepare your employees for these situations.
Why You Need Crisis Communications Training
Ultimately, Crisis communication training is about more than learning a set of skills. It's about cultivating a culture where every employee, from the mailroom to the boardroom, knows how to communicate effectively and appropriately during a problematic situation.
You might think your company doesn't need it—until it does. The fact is that crises can strike any organization at any time. When they do, preparedness means more than just knowing what to do at the moment. It means having dedicated employees with the skills and confidence to communicate their company's message and sensitivity. And that's precisely what crisis communication training teaches them.
That's why investing in professional development for your employees is so important, especially when it comes to crisis communication training. By working with an experienced instructor, your team will get the hands-on practice they need to become effective communicators in times of crisis. They'll learn how to respond appropriately in difficult situations and build their confidence in communicating with internal and external audiences.
And that kind of preparedness is something that can help you weather even the most brutal storms.
You can find out more about KC Academy’s Crisis Communication courses here.