The JLL Retail Division recently gathered a panel of experts, partners and members of corporate to discuss crisis communications in the retail context, and our very own Daniel Wagstaff joined the panel.
The experts have seen different properties respond to a range of emergencies and accidents, and they have learned the best practices for retail crisis communications. We know many of you were not able to see the panel, but a lot of great insight was shared. So we wanted to send key takeaway points. Below are five important answers about crisis communications based on the panel’s advice.
(1) What types of conversations should I have with my tenants before creating a crisis response plan?
Ask your tenants about how to reach them when they are off-site and what their communication preferences are. As one panelist said, “Most accidents aren’t between 8 and 5, so do you want to call the client rep at 2 in the morning?” Therefore, decisions about crisis communications should be considered in advance. By setting expectations before an accident happens, you can make crisis response a smoother process.
(2) If an emergency happens, why is communication crucial?
During a crisis, it is crucial to communicate between JLL corporate, the property management team, and onsite management. Property managers should communicate clearly, update their networks with new information as it is available, and provide good advice about how tenants should respond to the crisis. Facilitate two-way communication, and respond to any tenant needs.
Without good communications, your response will be chaotic and uncoordinated. But good communications help coordinate a response, calm tenant anxieties, and deescalate any problems.
(3) How does RedFlag work in an emergency with no warning?
RedFlag can respond immediately to an unexpected emergency. Of course, if you can prepare for an emergency (say, for example, if a hurricane is forecasted), then you should prepare! But there are times you can’t prepare for an emergency. As Daniel said, “RedFlag is built for exactly that.”
In order to be ready for an unexpected emergency, you simply need up-to-date tenant contact information. So, ask for information updates regularly (some panelists recommend quarterly). Then, you can easily select a JLL pre-approved template and get it out in real-time.
(4) Sometimes, if an emergency happens, it can be hard to gather information about what is going on. What should we do in the face of uncertainty?
You want your tenants to hear about the emergency from you first (and not from the media). Daniel said “people expect information in real time . . . and if we don’t inform our tenants about what’s happening and what’s next,” then “someone else will.”
So, communicate proactively and let tenants know you are aware of any concerning situation. Let them know you are investigating it and will keep them updated with information as soon as it becomes available. RedFlag is flexible and allows you to send and update information easily during any crisis. Use that flexibility to communicate early and often with tenants!
(5) Okay, so what are the three key points for responding well to a crisis?
(1) Be prepared. Assume that anything could happen on your property. Train your team on how to respond to the types of crises you can foresee: an active shooter, extreme weather conditions, or fire. And, always keep your tenant data current.
(2) Inform your tenants. As we have already said, communication is key. Use RedFlag to inform your tenants immediately, and keep them updated as new information becomes available.
(3) Gather information. RedFlag allows for two-way communication. Gather information from your tenants so that you can be aware of their circumstances. Then, follow up as necessary.
If you have any additional questions on preparing for any potential crises or how the RedFlag system can work for your properties, we would love to help! Schedule a quick 15 minute demo by filling out this form.