Crisis Management Gains Trust
Company: Mid-Size Professional Services Company
The largest client of a professional services company terminated its contract for cause. The professional services company initially opted not to notify clients but filed the required SEC documents associated with a material event of a publicly held company. The CMO, responsible for PR and brand image, found out on the same day as the filing was posted. The CMO, recognizing that this was not about spin management but about transparency, intervened to put the company in damage control mode.
Client and market communications were drafted. These included the following critical messaging documents:
A holding statement
FAQs to prevent employees from putting their own spin on the situation
A letter from the CEO to clients, partners and relevant third parties with transparency about the situation
Documented processes of handling confidential information and methods to secure facilities
After a few days, the CEO agreed to release these communications to relevant parties to prevent a tarnished brand. A crisis management team was established from Marketing and Legal to respond to any inquiries related to the event for consistency and to tightly control messaging. The company also developed mandatory training on handling confidential information and hired a third party to essentially audit its processes. And lastly, an internal compliance team was put in place to review all external-facing documents to prevent a repeat situation.
No other clients were lost due to the situation. Several prospects that had become gun shy appreciated the level of transparency and remained a critical part of the pipeline. The third-party audit resulted in a certification of the company’s processes and also created a new industry standard for handling sensitive information. And the most positive outcome was being listed on Forbes 100 Most Trustworthy Companies two consecutive years following the incident.