Study examines consumer expectations in a crisis

With the proliferation of social media, news of a crisis can spread instantaneously, and response tactics have a huge impact on a company’s resilience.

Crisp’s 2019 Crisis Impact Report reveals the increasing power of communications on social media, the power it holds in the wake of a corporate crisis and the impact it can have on commercial reputation.

Surveying 2,000 consumers from the US and UK about how they expect brands to respond in the wake of a crisis, the report found that a company’s response in the aftermath of a crisis holds significant weight with consumers and their loyalty.

The findings serve as a reminder in an era when "social media is increasingly weaponised and harmful content spreads in seconds," its authors write. They add that the data "validates that being the first to know, and thereby the first to act, is the most critical step in maintaining a strong reputation in the eyes of consumers."

Key findings from the report include:

- Time is not on your side after a crisis. More than half (53%) of the respondents expect a brand’s response within 60 minutes of a crisis and one in three (34%) expect a response within half an hour

- Leadership have a key role to play in damage limitation, with 59% of customers wanting to see brand responses coming directly from the CEO

- The response delivery is crucial when it comes to keeping or losing customers, with 90% of consumers saying it impacts positively if a company responds well in a crisis. However, if a company responds poorly, it stands to lose up 66% of its customer base.

- If an organisation handles a crisis poorly, more than half (55%) of the respondents said they would warn family and friends about the company

With so much at stake, businesses must think ahead and have a robust crisis mitigation plan in place to ensure business continuity.

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