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5 ways to communicate in a crisis

by Philip Martin

A recent article on PR Week which attracted my attention was on crisis communication.

I have both a TalkTalk account and a HSBC bank account, both of which recently had some problems with either a security attack or a website shutting down it’s access to client data. These are times when there is a question about how safe our data actually is, and what would happen if it got into the wrong hands, it could get messy, and cost corporations and people, money, time and effort. According to data from the Payment Cards Industry Data Security Standards council, from a recent Amadeus IT Group SA report, cybercrime costs the victim company an average of 2.6 million dollars.

I must say that TalkTalk handled the situation very well. Their communication was clear, on time, and for loyal customers who hung on through the scare, there was a nice offer to say thank you. All in all, I felt like they were looking after me, and if I saw anything suspicious knew who to call and what to do. This had obviously been very well thought out.

If I could outline the 5 things that TalkTalk did well it would be the following:

  1. Explained exactly what had happened and what may have been affected.

  2. Listed the next steps in the investigation and what they were doing

  3. Provided clear instructions of what I could do during the period of investigation

  4. Opened a specific helpline for the incident

  5. Kept me updated on a regular basis with a reassurance that they were still working on it, with up to date situation analysis.

Simple, but effective and reassuring, what I liked it that they were completely open, communicated clearly, provided the opportunity for dialogue, and you felt that the issue was being resolved.

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