10 Ways to Improve your Crisis Communications – tip 10 use automated notification

Emergency preparedness and response plans save your people, business continuity plans save your operations, crisis communication plans save your reputation.  Together, they can save your business. It is important to master crisis communication planning early in your business continuity program. These ten tips will help you to get a handle on this important endeavour.

Before you begin, you need to understand where crisis communication fits into your organization.  Crisis communication is an integral part of a business continuity program but it is also a component of public relations and enterprise risk management.

Tip #10 Use an automated notification system.

It is absolutely essential, pre-crisis, to establish notification systems that will allow you to rapidly reach your stakeholders using multiple modalities. Some may be on email constantly, others not so. Some of us receive our cell phone calls or messages quickly, while some do not. The ability to use multiple means of communication will increase the chances that the message will get to all stakeholders.

In particular, medium to large organizations should have an automated notification system. In the past, it was common to rely on “phone trees” and teams of callers to track people down. Modern technology offers many options available for purchase from multiple vendors— that can be set up to automatically to start contacting all stakeholders in your pre-established database and keep trying to reach them until they confirm (e.g., by pressing a certain number on a phone keypad) that the message has been received. This technology can be triggered with a single call or email.

Communication is the key to the proper handling of any crisis.  These ten tips should help the business continuity professional prepare a stronger crisis communication plan. A strong crisis communication plan will allow your people to properly manage the message and protect your organizations reputation.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice Nine – Crisis Communications DRII Professional Practices June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

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