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Response to Crisis







Guidelines : Response to Crisis

Responding to a Crisis

Guidelines and Alternate Phrases

  • Acknowledge the crisis situation.
  • We do find ourselves in the middle of a temporary crisis.
  • …has reached crisis proportions, and we must immediately take the situation in hand before the crisis overwhelms us.
  • Our pipes did burst and there has been a leak–that much is undisputed.
  • Describe any actions you are taking to minimize dangers or damages.
  • In light of further studies on the cause of the recent biking mishaps, we have redesigned the rear guard for our bike wheels.
  • Until further studies are complete and conclusive, we have asked our distributors to remove our dairy products from their shelves.
  • We have investigated all possible causes for our AMRCO bath oil’s association with the flu-related symptoms and find absolutely no connection between this product and the reported symptoms. We have presented our evidence to the media and have requested continued review of the case from the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Express your concern for employees, stockholders, and the general public who may be affected by the situation. You can always express concern whether or not you accept responsibility for the situation.
  • We are primarily concerned with the safety of our customers and employees. Company profitability always takes on less significance in a crisis such as this.
  • We trust this strong action conveys how serious we are about the situation.
  • We hope you will agree we have acted responsibly in the light of testing done to date.
  • As the facts from our study become available, you can be assured we will interpret them with safety being utmost in our minds.
  • Our biggest concern is the future safety of our employees, our customers, and the public.
  • Although we fail to see how the situation could have been avoided, we do want to express our vital interest in seeing employees and customers do not have to endure such hardship again.
  • More than the immediate profitability of our product line, we are concerned with the long-term effects on our employees.
  • We know of no stronger action to take in this situation. We are expecting a full reversal of the decision and feel our stand is in the best interest of our stockholders, our employees, and the general public.
  • We feel you will agree we have made a responsible decision in light of the facts discovered to date. We have the utmost regard for the sentiments of our managerial staff in the field operations handling this service to our customers. It is their consensus we relocate our manufacturing plant.
  • Assure employees and the public you will continue to keep them informed of further details, changes, or actions.
  • As soon as other details become available, we will pass them on to you.
  • We will keep you informed every step of the way until this situation is resolved.
  • Please direct your questions to my office. We want you to have all the facts as soon as they become available.
  • We plan to provide you with daily bulletins over the coming weeks to summarize court proceedings and our further research of the facts.
  • We will let you know about future actions as details become available.
  • As soon as we know anything more, we’ll pass on the information to you.
  • You are concerned about every detail and rightly so; we pledge to keep you informed every step of the way.
  • We will be monitoring the situation 24 hours a day and will release all the details to you, the public, as soon as we have them ourselves.
  • I personally plan to stay in touch by phone every hour and will go on TV with any new developments.
  • Avoid saying the situation will never recur.

Example 1: Sample letters for response to crisis

Company Name or Letterhead
Address
City, State Zip
Date

Addressee
Address
City, State Zip

Dear June:

I’ve been at Eastern for three months now. Since my arrival, I’ve been impressed by the consistent commitment to service from the people here. We’re producing a first-rate product and running a good, on-time airline. Those of you who fly us regularly know first-hand what I’m talking about.

In recent days you have undoubtedly read or heard news accounts about the indictment of nine Eastern employees on charges of falsifying repair records and failing to maintain aircraft. I want to address this in detail because this is a serious issue, and because you deserve an explanation.

At the outset I want to make one point clear–the allegations concern events that occurred almost two years ago at a maintenance facility that has been closed for a year. The investigation has nothing to do with our operations or maintenance practices today.

In every respect, Eastern is running a safe, efficient, and courteous airline. Eastern may have its share of problems but operating an unsafe airline is not one of them. This airline has undergone a rigorous inspection by the FAA, a rigorous inspection by the Department of Defense, as well as our internal audit. In every case, Eastern has passed these inspections in good order, and the FAA continues to be a vigilant observer and enforcer of regulations on the Eastern property to an extent unprecedented in American aviation history.

When the U.S. Attorney advised me the company and certain management personnel would be subject to criminal indictments, I asked our attorneys to enter into discussions with him to try to put this investigation and these matters to rest.

We were prepared to acknowledge to the U.S. Attorney in the form of a guilty plea that improper maintenance practices occurred during the pre-strike period up until March of 1989. Where wrongdoing was found by our own and a separate FAA investigation, employees were terminated or reassigned and penalties were levied by the FAA.

These discussions ended and the indictments were handed down because the company simply could not agree to the U.S. Attorney’s demand for a guilty plea to a conspiracy charge, which in our judgment would have called into question our present superior maintenance program and all employees and managers involved in that program.

I want to sincerely thank you for your support, past and present. Our product is improving and people are responding. Nothing is going to stand in the way of this progress. We have enjoyed serving you in the past, and we hope we can count on your continued support in the coming months.

Sincerely,

Martin R. Shugrue

Trustee

Reprinted with permission by courtesy of Eastern Air Lines.

Example 2: Response letter examples

Company Name or Letterhead
Address
City, State Zip
Date

Addressee
Address
City, State Zip

To the Procter & Gamble Organization:

The Company has taken an unprecedented step in voluntarily suspending the manufacture and sale of Rely Tampons. Though you have received our press releases of the last 10 days, we believe you are entitled to more information than such releases can carry.

In order that you better understand what has happened, we attach for your information and any discussion you may wish to have with your associates, your families, the Company’s customers and suppliers, a statement tracing developments surrounding Rely. This statement was prepared by the group in management who handled the problem and recommended to this office the suspension action that was taken on September 22.

It is my sincere hope after studying this material, you will understand the course we have followed and agree the Company has behaved responsibly and in the long-term interest of the public, our stockholders, and our organization.

I am personally proud of the way our people in all concerned departments have behaved under the pressure of real concern for human life and often misleading publicity.

Very truly yours,

Reprinted by courtesy of The Procter & Gamble Company.

Example 3: Responding to business crises

Company Name or Letterhead
Address
City, State Zip

Date

Addressee
Address
City, State Zip

Dear Mr. Cohen:

I am sure you’ve heard stories in the news about the indictment of our former vice president of operations, William Mendelsohn. As the news reports have been somewhat misleading, I want to give you the facts of the case directly.

In early November an internal audit revealed that $1.2 million was missing from our pension fund. A subsequent internal investigation pointed to Mr. Mendelsohn. We immediately placed him on suspension without pay and informed the Portland Police Department of our findings. The police conducted their own investigation. Two weeks later, on December 7, Mr. Mendelsohn was charged with embezzlement and his employment at Hewitt & Maynor was terminated. His trial is scheduled for April 14.

We were extremely surprised to learn of Mr. Mendelsohn’s alleged criminal activity. At no time in his eight years with Hewitt & Maynor did we suspect any dishonesty. Upon learning money was missing, we took the swiftest and most appropriate action to bring the person responsible to justice.

We are also confident that we have taken the most appropriate and aggressive measures to return the missing $1.2 million to the pension fund. We are currently pursuing several options including compensation from our insurance company.

I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to bring the pension fund up to its proper levels. The administration of our employees’ benefits is a serious matter. They work hard to make this company successful. We want them to know their retirement benefits are secure. In order to prevent the misuse of pension funds in the future, we are instituting a double authorization system. It will make for a bit more paperwork, but increased security.

We will continue to keep you informed as the situation develops.

Sincerely,

Example 4: Response to crisis letters

Company Name or Letterhead
Address
City, State Zip

Date

Addressee
Address
City, State Zip

Dear Mrs. Hoffman:

As you know, the Americar Engine Plant in Warren, Ohio shut down July 16 because of an employee strike. The plant is our sole supplier of Traveler engines. We currently have 200 engines in stock. Once these are installed, we will be forced to shut down our assembly operations until the Engine Plant re-opens. This means all plant employees will be laid off indefinitely, effective July 24.

Contract negotiations are in progress. Both sides hold significant differences of opinions with regard to wage increases and benefits packages. Americar negotiators report they don’t expect an agreement in the near future, although they assure us both sides will continue to work in good faith to end the impasse.

We regret we have no other choice but to schedule layoffs. I know how hard it is on all of us and our families to be in an uncertain situation. We all want to be back at work as soon as possible. To that end, we have offered the negotiators in Warren any assistance they need.

Thank you for your patience during this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Example 5: Response to Crisis

Company Name or Letterhead
Address
City, State Zip

Date

Addressee
Address
City, State Zip

Dear Mr. Montego:

The three cases of e-coli bacteria found in our Little City Burgers restaurant are a serious and regretful situation, but one we are prepared to handle.

We are surprised and deeply saddened that anyone experienced any negative consequences from eating at Little City Burgers. The three customers affected are expected to fully recover. Two have already been released from the hospital, and the third is expected to be released by the end of the week. We are doing everything we can to ensure they are receiving the best care available.

We want to stress that the presence of e-coli in our tomatoes was completely unrelated to the sanitary practices of our restaurant. We have a team of inspectors who make sure all of our restaurants follow rigorous sanitary policies.

The E-coli bacteria can infect tomatoes, raspberries, and strawberries usually in parts of South and Central America. It remains on uncooked plants regardless of whether they are washed. In other words, the tomatoes were contaminated with the bacteria before they ever reached our restaurants, and nothing we could have done short of cooking them would have eliminated the bacteria.

We purchased this shipment of tomatoes from a grower in Guatemala. Although it passed USDA inspection, it was infected with e-coli before it entered the country. The tomatoes were shipped to 12 Little City Burgers in the northern Illinois area. As soon as we discovered the contamination in our Chicago location, we withdrew all the tomatoes from all 12 locations. We have had no other reports of sickness as a result of eating our chef’s salad. Now that we have identified the cause of these sad incidents and resolved it, we are dedicated to returning our customers’ confidence in us.

Sincerely,

     

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