Crisis averted

Blogs Lucas Deal October 11, 2013

Let’s start with the obvious. No business ever wants a crisis.

Whether it’s an operational or financial snafu, a natural disaster or a serious injury, a crisis is always bad news. But unwanted as they are, no business is immune to crises.

The best you can do is work hard to avoid them. And in those unfortunate situations when they strike, do everything you possibly can to manage them safely and effectively.

Far as I can tell, the best way to do that is by learning from your mistakes.

Not every mistake you encounter in your business leads to a crisis. As a matter of fact, most probably don’t. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn about crisis management from a minor mistake.

Everything you do in your business provides an opportunity to learn.

A prime example is when you complete a repair order and the customer is back in your shop two days later because the truck failed again. Whatever you did to fix it didn’t work. Or even worse, in the process of fixing it you broke something else.

This isn’t a crisis.

Well, I guess it might be for your customer, but I wouldn’t consider it one for you. One truck needing additional repair shouldn’t cripple your business like an investment mistake, or a natural disaster. The Big Bad Wolf didn’t blow your facility down.

But it’s still a situation where you need to do your customer right, and it’s a great opportunity to learn.

One unfortunate but common byproduct of a crisis is how it can inconvenience your customers. It’s in situations like the one above — when you’ve inconvenienced one customer and need to make it right — where you can find methods for diffusing customer anger that work for you.

You should take what you learn in these situations — the areas where you excel and need improvement — and integrate them into your crisis management plans.

Lucas Deal is the editor of Truck Parts & Service and Successful Dealer. He can be reached at

You can follow me on twitter at @lddeal85

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