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Crisis Management and the Customer Experience

How to Adapt and Handle a Global Crisis Without Sacrificing Your Customers

Shep Hyken interviews Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5W Public Relations. They discuss strategies for managing PR and global crises while strengthening your relationships with your customers.

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Top Takeaways:

  • A key finding from 5WPR’s 2020 Consumer Culture Report was that 71% of people surveyed find it important to buy from companies that align with their values.
  • When it comes to customer service and customer loyalty, it is important to attempt to understand your customers’ values. If you can resonate with what is important to your customers, you will build a more loyal customer base.
  • Be mindful not only of what you say, but how you say it. These elements have a huge effect on customer purchasing habits and ultimately customer loyalty.
  • It is crucial for brands to adapt to worldwide events. For example, many companies that formerly manufactured unrelated products have begun producing items like masks and hand sanitizer to help combat the coronavirus.
  • There is always a risk for brands to take a stand on moral issues. Companies must be smart and strategic about weighing in on polarizing issues and determine whether the risk is worth the potential gain in customer loyalty.
  • When in a global crisis, brands need to be careful and mindful of their marketing practices. Attempting to sell could rub consumers the wrong way and risk negatively affecting the brand’s reputation in the long term.
  • Trust is crucial in any relationship. Businesses must prove to their customers that they are trustworthy.
  • The goal is for crises to never occur. However, even a crisis could turn into good PR for a brand. The key is in how the crisis is managed.
  • The process for managing a crisis is to first find out what actually happened. Then, you must decide how to handle it—make a plan of action for both the present and the future. Acting quickly and decisively is crucial.
  • Don’t forget how to smile and laugh—especially in a crisis. Find at least one thing to smile about every single day.


“Brand sentiment really matters. What you say, how you say it, tone—those things really affect consumer purchasing habits and loyalty.”

“Crisis PR is about telling stories. The key is often to respond quickly. Ignoring a crisis isn’t helpful. You need to be decisive, you need to be strong, and you need to make decisions.”

“People work with people that they like. People buy from companies that they identify with and that have values similar to their own. This is more true now than ever before.”


Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations. He has worked with some of the world’s most visible companies, brands and organizations and has been recognized with numerous rewards throughout his career spanning over 20 years.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning keynote speaker, and your host of Amazing Business Radio.

This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions … and more:

  1. How can I get my customers to trust me?
  2. How can I increase customer loyalty?
  3. What is the role of customer service during a crisis?
  4. How do I manage a crisis?
  5. How can I adapt to doing business in a global crisis?

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