Join Laura Bergells for an in-depth discussion in this video Assessing technical and physical resources, part of Crisis Communication.
- Take a look at your list of crisis communications channels and devices, let's make this general inventory more detailed and dynamic. What are the specific physical or virtual locations of your communication channels and devices? How will you access them? What's your backup plan if you can't access your information and tools during an emergency? Finally, how will you regularly update this detailed inventory information? Let's walk through a brief example.
If you have a flash-flood in your area, perhaps you'll want to close your location for the day and you'll want to warn people who might be planning to visit, not to take a travel risk either. In this abbreviated flood closure example, let's consider only four key audiences, Employees, Customers, Vendors and the public. Members of each audience need to know not to risk their safety to get to your place of business. That's why your communication inventory needs to include how to access employee phone numbers and email addresses.
You may decide to send employees a text or an email alert to notify them not to come to work or you may have a phone system in place to contact each employee with a recorded message. Accessing your employee database may be a key part of your crisis communication inventory. Knowing how to access your phone and email messaging systems, that's also critical. Now, when it comes to contacting customers and vendors, you may also have a detailed contact database. But is it appropriate to email or phone all of your customers and vendors to let them know that you're closing one location? Perhaps, but perhaps not.
It depends on the size and nature of your business. If you send an individual email alert to customers that have no intention of visiting you on that day, you may risk causing unnecessary alarm or annoyance. Instead, you may decide that it's more appropriate to treat customers and vendors as members of the public. You'll update your online presence to include business closure information. You'll change your switchboard voicemail message to announce the flood closure. It's also reasonable for you to contact local mainstream media outlets to help you spread the word.
Your communication channel inventory needs to identify the contact information for each of these communication sources. In addition to specific contact and access information, you'll want to give some thought as to where your messages are most likely to originate. If you typically send emails from your office or command center at work, a flood or other emergency may prevent you from physically accessing the tools you need to reach your core audiences. So what's your backup plan? How can you access the tools and contact information you need if your usual place of conducting business is unavailable? Give some thought as to how you'll access what you need in the event of a crisis.
Further, you'll want to make sure all information in your inventory is regularly and frequently updated. For example, most organizations are very careful about maintaining up-to-date employee, customer and vendor contact information. But many times information for media sources and regulatory agencies can become quickly outdated. Make sure you have a process in place for frequently reviewing and updating a detailed communication inventory. This dynamic inventory will include specific locations of channels and devices, how to access them as well as a backup plan.
- Define crisis.
- Explain how to respond quickly and confidently.
- Identify different audiences in crisis.
- Assess technical and physical resources.
- Describe how to establish a chain of command.
- Develop hold statements.
- Identify how to avoid common crisis response mistakes.
- Review your crisis communication response.