How Crisis Management Can Change Your Business and Customer Relationships

When I hear the term crisis, I think of times when things are difficult or dangerous.

I’m thinking of a natural disaster like a tsunami or earthquake that causes a lot of damage and suffering.

There are various types of crises one may face, such as existential, man-made, and business crises. What we’re going to cover in this article is the latter.

The types of business crises that can cause great damage to your company no matter your industry, size, or resources are: financial crisis, management crisis, marketing crisis, natural disaster, public relations crisis, and supply chain crisis.

Businesses are vulnerable to crises, so it’s crucial to be ready for anything that might happen to prevent your company from failing.

This means that almost seven out of every ten leaders have experienced at least one corporate crisis in the past five years, with the average number of crises experienced being three.

If your business experiences an unplanned event, you can follow a crisis management plan to get through it. This plan includes understanding the different stages of a crisis, and having the right team to help you manage the situation.

This guide will cover all the information you need to know about business crises, but let’s start with a review of the definition of a business crisis.

What Is a Business Crisis?

When we talk about a “crisis,” we are talking about a time when things are very difficult or bad. There are several types of events that can qualify, including:

A common thread among these types of crises is that they have the potential to impact a large number of customers simultaneously. When a crisis affects many customers, you will usually need to communicate with the public. This means that you want your team to speak in one voice.

A business crisis is an event that could damage a company’s reputation, business operations, finances, or harm its employees.

A business crisis can be caused by something happening within the company or from an outside source. Because business crises can be serious, it is a good idea to make a plan for how to deal with one before it happens.

What Is Crisis Management?

Crisis management is the process of preparing for and managing any disruptive or unexpected emergencies that could negatively affect your business, stakeholders, employees, customers, and revenue. Crisis management is an important component of public relations.

Crisis Management Process

The most important part of crisis management is managing the crisis itself, although there is much more to the process than that.

Let’s unpack the primary steps in the crisis management process so your team and crisis leaders can be best prepared.


Crisis management starts with preventing potential crises. This includes creating a crisis management plan, hiring and training a crisis management team, and conducting practice exercises for implementing the plan.

Another part of this step is to draft any crisis communication messages you may have to relay in times of crisis. Pre-writing these messages saves time when an emergency happens.

Crisis Management and Response

The second step of crisis management is when you respond to the different stages of a crisis.

This is stage is when you need to take action and put your crisis management plan into place. News of the crisis is first released to the public, employees and stakeholders are contacted, and safety is the top priority.


After a crisis has passed or subsided, your crisis management work is not finished. You need to keep in touch with your employees, customers, and stakeholders, and be available to answer questions. You should proactively update the relevant parties.

After your team has gone through a mock crisis, sit down with them and review how the plan went. See what could be improved and make changes to the plan accordingly. How did your crisis communications perform? Were there any questions or concerns that your audiences had that you didn’t address? Any lessons you learn from this experience should be integrated into your crisis management process for future planning.

Now that we know what a crisis is, let’s dive into creating a crisis management plan for your business.

What Is a Crisis Management Plan?

The purpose of a crisis management plan is to help a business deal with a disruptive or unexpected emergency in an established, streamlined way. Your crisis management plan should be ready before any crises happen so your business is prepared to use it to deal with and fix any unexpected events.

Why Create a Crisis Management Plan

Facing a crisis without a plan can have severe and long-term consequences for your business. The consequences of this situation could create various legal, operational, and public relations problems. A crisis could cause so much damage that it forces you to close your business.

However, 29% of companies that faced a major crisis from 2014-2019 say they have no staff dedicated to crisis preparedness or response, which shows that many companies are not prepared for a crisis. Almost a third of companies are unsure if their crisis management plans are current.

All businesses should have a crisis management plan in place to prevent long-term damage from happening as a result of any unplanned event. Here are four more reasons why you should have a crisis management plan for your business:

Crisis management plans:

How to Create a Crisis Management Plan

  1. Identify all possible types of crises.
  2. Determine the impact of each type of crisis on your business.
  3. Consider the actions you’d need to take to resolve each type of crisis.
  4. Decide who will be involved in the actions you need to take in each scenario.
  5. Develop resolution plans for each type of crisis.
  6. Train everyone who needs to be familiar with your plans.
  7. Revisit and update your plans regularly and when necessary.

The Do’s and Don’Ts of Crisis Management

Losing the trust of your customers can be damaging to your business relationships, so take measures to restore trust quickly if it’s lost. The following are some tips to keep in mind when responding to an emergency.

How to Communicate During a Crisis

The first thing to do when a crisis occurs is to address the problem, which is the most important task. Communicating effectively with your customers and stakeholders is the next thing to do. If you don’t communicate well with your customers, the trust you’ve worked hard to create will be destroyed.

Be proactive and let everyone know what’s happening. Below are a few tips to help you communicate better when you’re feeling tense.


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