Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communication specialist, Social Media expert, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps brands(Profits and Non-profits)with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa)
Crisis time is not usually the best of time for anyone. Not to talk of a front line brand whose name is already a household name. During crisis time, emotions may reign supreme over the voice of reason if we do allow. Many communication experts who had been there can attest to this. That is why post crisis evaluation is always good so we know what we did wrong or right and how to benchmark great result.
Experience sometimes may not be the best teacher in some cases. It is always good to learn from others. If we always wait until it happens to us, we will miss the mark many times.
So communication professionals, internal or consultants need to keep an open eye on the environment so we can be adequately prepared, counseled top management and team members. In our previous post, we examined a not very savoury experience of GTBANK Nigeria Plc. We also advised many others, Bank communication teams, should learn from the dangers of overlooking simple details that can lead to catastrophe. It is the age of customer and brand needs to take good care of them. That many customers are not talking does not mean brands are getting it right and brand needs to constantly ask question about their service delivery.
Otherwise one day, a bottled-up emotion may erupt like a volcano. That was the experience we shared in that previous post.
Today, we are going ahead to analyze certain things communication team must guide against during crisis. Some of these items were picked from the way GTBank digital team handled the situation. After our post on this platform, we called the attention of the team and the customer who started the conversation that led to the crisis on twitter with a link here. This is what happened:
Yinka Olaito @pathfindernig: what @gtbank digital team did well today on the bank’s customers twitter rants http://goo.gl/T5pk5H
Guaranty Trust Bank: @gtbank: @pathfindernig Hello, do please send us a direct message if you have any issue with deductions in your account. & do send us a message via firstname.lastname@example.org
YinkaOlaito:@pathfindernig: @gtbank, I do not have any deduction so I am wondering what is the essence of the mail requested
Babatunde Rosanwo @rosanwo: @pathfindernig, it is very obvious the team behind @gtbank did not read your link, they simply have a tailored message for everyone.
Guaranty Trust Bank @gtbank: @rosanwo the link in your post did not work so I thought you have deductions.
From the above, here are the mistakes we must guide against during online crisis:
Assumption: this is a dangerous point to be during crisis. No matter what, always ensure you get all the fact rights before you communicate with targets. Do not forget, if you assume and your assumption is not right, you will create more problems because what you say may also go viral. Your mistake will also be open to all. Imagine if a tweet based on assumption reaches over 50 Million global audience. The possibility of being quoted by international media platforms are still there.
Confusion: during crisis, people often become confused based on the mirage of information flow. Never act from the angle of confusion. Be in control of situation and never allow negative emotions to run wild amidst the team as you will not achieve much. Crisis time is not the time to be looking for who to blame. It is a time all efforts need to be on finding solution to the problem on ground. We do know this is not the easy line to follow but this offers best result.
No generalized message: during crisis time, it is easier to want a quick fix it action than taking the pain of going all the way. From every indication above, it appears the team quickly created that generalised message for every mention they have. Unfortunately, because of lack of attention to details they missed a great opportunity to learn something new. For my message, a thank you would have done. Yet the team sent a totally irrelevant message. We wonder how many would have gotten such message during the crisis time even when what they needed was something entirely different.
Get all your facts: from the above, we know that when we have facts, we can better communicate well. Our communication will achieve more than when we are flying on the wing of assumption. Be sure you are operating with fact, do background check, get trusted team member to follow every good sources, details and keep following up with other sources to be so sure of what you are doing.
Carefree attitude to affected person: in many cases, the crisis do die down fast if you can nip it at the source. But if you leave the source and concentrate on ‘spread the bullets’ approach, you will keep losing it. In this case, @rosanwo was the person who started out, wise team would have done everything to get contact detail of this person, if that is possible, and connect with him fast. That will dose the tension as soon as he comes back online to sing a good song about your efficiency. So offline contact with online initiative would have done a great job. where physical contact seems impossible, send personalized email, he will feel very important you care so much about him.
Watch your language: this is also clear. Tension makes some use language they are not supposed to use. The digital team member handling the @gtbank account totally forget he/she was using corporate twitter handle thereby allowed the use of personal pronoun ‘I’ instead of we. It will have been a different ball game if the twitter handle is @sirkay-gtbank, that would have been pardoned