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How Crisis Communication Plans Work


After a Communications Crisis
After a crisis, the team should evaluate the crisis communication plan's effectiveness.
After a crisis, the team should evaluate the crisis communication plan's effectiveness.
© George Shelley Productions/Getty Images

Directly after a crisis, the organization at fault must compensate the victims. Experts recommend that the organization act quickly to provide restitution. If the victims receive compensation immediately, the crisis is less likely to linger in the press. The cost of quickly resolving the issue also will be far less than if the organization waits for litigation [source: Seven Dimensions of Crisis Communication Management].

The organization needs to make a bold commitment to ensure the errors that caused the crisis will never happen again. Precautionary measures should go well beyond the expectations of the public. In the Tylenol tampering scare of the mid-1980s, for example, Tylenol took its capsules off the market entirely until the company could design a tamper-proof bottle [source: Effective Crisis Management]. That cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars, but it regained public trust.

After the crisis has died down, the organization should establish an assessment group to determine which parts of the crisis communication plan worked and which need to be revised. A separate assessment group should examine the root causes of the disaster and decide what steps need to be taken to prevent future occurrences.

As a final act of crisis communications, experts recommend that an organization go public with its self-assessment. This gives the community further proof that the organization takes the crisis very seriously and has safeguards in place to avoid even the threat of such a crisis happening again.

For more information about crisis communication plans and related topics, check out the links on the next page.