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What do you do when a crisis hits your spa or massage practice? It’s a question hopefully you will never have to deal with firsthand, but it is something you need to be prepared for.  An extremely unhappy client may post a number of scathing reviews online about your services as well as disparage your business publicly. Someone even may threaten to sue over at treatment.  Far less serious but equally disruptive to the business is a major equipment failure, which sets back treatments and impacts your bottom line. Apart from any legal/insurance issues you may face or equipment repair costs, you need to deal with the impact of a crisis on the day-to-day operation of your business.

While you can’t know when a crisis will hit, you can at least be prepared to deal with one so that your spa and massage practice clients, employees and business associates continue to have confidence in your business. In order to be prepared, you’ll want to take the following steps:

Have a plan: Having a crisis management plan in place, even if you never have to use it, is something that you’ll want. The plan should identify what specific steps need to be taken should a crisis occur that has the potential to set your business back.

Identify audiences: When crisis hits your business, you need to know who should be kept in the loop. As an example, let’s say a falsehood is circulated that your spa or massage practice is going out of business for financial reasons. In a situation such as this, you need to reassure your team that this is not the case. You would also want vendors to know that your business continues to be solid despite any rumors, and clients who may hear you are having problems should be assured that you will continue to keep the door open. Business partners, such as co-marketing organizations, also need to be on your target list as well as any non-profits you help through volunteer or fund raising efforts.  Think of anyone else that needs to be kept in the loop.

Identify a spokesperson: In order to keep messages coming from your business consistent, someone in addition to yourself should be identified as the spokesperson. If a client calls after hearing or reading something negative about your business, either you or your designated spokesperson should be the only individuals handling the calls.

Be honest and open:  During the time of crisis, it’s important to be as honest and open as you can. In some cases if there are legal issues involved, certain details will need to be kept confidential. However, don’t hide and avoid contact with employees and the outside about the situation. Transparency to the extent possible helps to diffuse the situation and keep rumors from getting out of hand. Consider what questions your audiences may have and be prepared with messages, which you’ll either convey proactively, as appropriate, or in answer to calls or questions on social media that you get.

Hopefully you’ll never need to deal with a crisis that has the potential to jeopardize your business. But being prepared is still necessary to help your business successfully “weather the storm.”