How would you handle communication if your business or practice got into a crisis situation?
I was pleasantly surprised when my Internet service provider responded competently and quickly to a technical crisis. And, we can learn to communicate more effectively by studying its response.
The crisis occurred when hackers attacked its system at same time that company was upgrading its systems to meet increased customer demand. And while customers experienced no dramatic shutdowns, some customers faced delays and difficulty getting online.
In response, company quickly sent out a newsletter containing a single article, an open letter from president.
First, president acknowledged there had been a problem. And, company took responsibility for problem. While it attributed at least some of problems to malicious hackers, it nonetheless took responsibility for system's integrity.
Most of us find it refreshing when a company steps up and does those two things. It communicates self-confidence and it communicates sincere concern for customers. All too often, organizations make poor excuses or point fingers at suppliers and customers; that just makes customers more dissatisfied.
Second, company apologized. In first sentence of article, president said he was sorry for disruptions that subscribers had experienced over preceding two weeks.
By doing that he allowed his readers to get through rest of letter with less resistance. They weren't mentally concocting rebuttals - they were reading what he had to say. That's crucial any time you want to make an important point.