What Is Your Ideal Crisis Response Time?

crisis-response-timeBest case scenario, your ideal crisis response time is 15 minutes.

Wait! Don’t gasp yet…

Your maximum crisis response time is 1 hour.

OK, now you can gasp!

Reality check:
If your team is unable to respond to a crisis (or issue) within maximum 1 hour, then you need to reevaluate and figure out why.

Agnes + Day works with global enterprises and national organizations so we know that this isn’t always realistic. But it’s the truth.

The fact is, the sooner you enable your team to respond to an incident, whether a crisis or an issue, the sooner you:

  • Stop, extinguish and annihilate any existing and/or potential speculation and rumors around the incident
  • Meet the expectations of your audience, which in turn connects you closer to them and enables you to strengthen the relationships you share
  • Regain control of the situation and give your team the opportunity to turn the negative situation into a positive PR opportunity

Now those are some awesome benefits for quick social response in a crisis, don’t you think?

How can you make 15 – 60 minutes your realistic crisis response time?

First thing’s first, you need to be monitoring. The better you monitor, the more you are aware of what is being said about your brand and the sooner you can detect an existing or looming threat. The sooner you detect the threat, the sooner you’re able to respond to it.

Second thing’s second, you need to be prepared. This means understanding and outlining:

And last but not least, practice makes perfect. Once you have your crisis and issues teams set up and your crisis and issues communications plan created, it’s time to practice, practice, practice. The risks of crises and issues are heightened today with social media and the realities (and risks) of the online world. The only way to be sure that your team understands and is prepared to manage these online threats is by empowering them to be able to. The more your team practices, the better and quicker you will all become and the more confident you will grow to be.

Remember! The sooner you respond to a crisis or issue situation (even a potential one), the sooner you regain control (or don’t risk losing it) and the least amount of negative repercussions your brand will suffer. Those repercussions can be as severe as long-term reputational damage and a direct hit to your business’s bottom line. And when faced with a crisis situation, the repercussions can last one heck of a long time.

Melissa Agnes is an international crisis management keynote speaker and consultant. President of the crisis management firm Agnes + Day, Melissa has developed a worldwide reputation for crisis management, planning and training by helping global brands and government agencies prevent and manage a wide range of issues and crises. She is also the editor of The Crisis Intelligence Blog and host of The Crisis Intelligence Podcast.

4 Comments. Leave new

Mark Hoffman
July 9, 2013 8:55 am

Hi Melissa, I enjoyed this post.

I have my clients prepared with a Crisis Management Plan that includes templates of pre-written press releases. The Communications Officer just needs to fill in details of the event and issue the release.
During our business continuity exercises, I had the Communications Officer sit in and prepare a statement based on the scenario that I laid out. By the time I reviewed the scenario slide with the team, the initial response press release was done. It was done in a matter of minutes!

I encourage early communication, and instruct all department heads to only speak to details that have been previously released by the Communications Officer. I think the biggest challenge is controlling staff from telling their story and releasing additional information.


Hi Mark,

Awesome! When a company is prepared, there's no reason why the response time should be more than 60 minutes. And of course, in this day and age, there's no excuse for not being prepared!

Thanks for sharing your personal experience with us here!


I think the key phrase is "the sooner you enable your team." So often leadership within an organization can be paralyzed by either overanalyzing or wanting to control the entire situation on their own. Great post!


Very true. It all comes down to preparedness and education – before a crisis strikes.

Glad you enjoyed the post, Kate!


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