Accidents are inevitable within the motorcoach industry. It's not if, but when your company will be involved in one—and you must be prepared.
Think of crisis management preparation as a form of insurance. Would you hesitate to buy homeowners' insurance to protect your family in the event of fire? No. You hope you'll never have to deal with the real thing, but if you do, the chance lives will be saved increases significantly by undertaking simple advance planning.
It's no coincidence that companies without an established (or updated) crisis plan have found themselves in greater distress as a result.
Many things can go wrong.
- Phone calls from passengers or worried relatives aren't returned in a timely manner.
- Key evidence isn't preserved.
- Coach drivers speaking at the scene, after specific instruction to not interact with reporters and others.
- News stories claiming, "The company refused to comment."
- Company executives being unreachable, creating confusion and panic, and casting the company in a bad light.
Lack of preparation can have serious long-term implications for your legal exposure, reputation, and goodwill in the community. Your good reputation, which took years to develop and nurture, can be instantly dismantled. The resulting loss of confidence in your business leads to customers being wary of using your services, and your business may never recover.
Many problems could be avoided through planning and careful thought.
Motorcoach operators should prepare beforehand to handle a crisis. Companies should work with their legal, risk, insurance, and communications teams to develop an integrated, coordinated plan. While unforeseen circumstances occur during a crisis, most contingencies can be considered and accounted for in advance.
For tips on what to include in your crisis plan, click here to read this article in its entirety in the digital edition of Groups Today.