When an emergency strikes a business community, the need to impart is quick. On the off chance that business operations are disturbed, clients will need to know how they will be affected. Managers may need to be informed and neighborhood government authorities will need to realize what is going ahead in their group. Representatives and their families will be concerned and need information. Neighbors living close to the office may require Information particularly on the off chance that they are undermined by the episode. These “gatherings of people” will need Information before the business has an opportunity to start imparting. On such a node, Communication Management becomes essential to manage business and emergency response plans. Communicating with the employees, costumers, local bodies and other potential audience is among first priorities for a business and demands effective communication management. Continuing the business the very next day after a crisis is important, however maintaining a constant stream of contact with the audience that need to be addressed is even more important. It calls for reaching out to employees, customers and local bodies with as much information as possible regarding what is going on within the business community through communication management.
A critical segment of the communication management is the crisis communication plan. A business must have the capacity to react instantly, precisely and unhesitatingly amid a crisis in the hours and days that take after. Numerous diverse groups of onlookers must be arrived at with information particular to their diversions and needs. The picture of the business can be emphatically or adversely affected by open impression of the management of the occurrence.
The first step towards developing a Crisis communication plan is to make sure that the right audience is addressed and no one is missed. Going further, it entails what audience needs to be reached out, and what message should be conveyed to the targeted audience. Further assessment requires answers to these questions; what resources a company has and what resources it utilizes for effective communication during a critical time or emergency situation.
Communication management: Who needs to be addressed?
The communication management can only be effective if the message reaches out to the right audience and does not miss any potential audience. The question that arises is who needs to be addressed promptly. The employees of your company as well as the customers are the audience that would be interested the most to know what is going within the businesses community. Employees would want to know whether they would be able to continue their job from the very next day or are there any potential safety hazards that might have emerged due to a crisis. Also, in an emergency situation be it man made or a natural disaster, employees and customers are the first ones who may get affected. In such a situation, a lose thread of communication can lead to other adverse issues that may prolong the emergency situation or exacerbate it. Contact with the customers should be the top priority of your business and the Business Continuity Plan should consider ways to communication with the costumers during an emergency. After all, the customers are a life stream of any business and maintaining profitable customer relationships is a top most priority. When such concerns are not addressed, the costumer may lose interest in the business or simply drop out. Call centers should be active during a critical situation so that customers are given answers for their questions regarding the situation and their concerns. Knowing what they are involved in is of significant concern for the costumers.
Next to employees and customers, the government officials and regulators would be interested to know of the disruptions being faced by the business community. The government bodies need to be notified as early as possible in order to seek help. Similarly the neighboring community needs to be addressed on time as well of the situation within the business community. If however, the situation exacerbates or gets out of control; media may demand information as well. To address all these concerns, your Business Continuity Plan should consider ways to maintain a communication thread with your audience. Authorized personnel should be identified to make necessary communication with employees, costumers, management teams, community, government officials and regulators, families of employees and news media. Identifying authorized personnel will ensure that the company is concerned about its responsibility to address the audience.
Communication Management: What needs to be conveyed?
The audience demands information that is relevant to them during an emergency situation. The employees may want to know whether they would be able to continue their jobs or not, if yes then when? It’s natural for the people involved to panic, however, the people responsible for handling a crisis within a business organization need to stay calm. The costumers would want to know how the situation affects them and when the consequences would be compensated. The neighbors and government officials would demand the information regarding what is going on and how adverse the consequence can be. Similarly stakeholders need to be addressed for their concerns regarding the crisis. For the effective communication management, each type of audience needs to be addressed separately according to their concerns. After analyzing the potential audience, the next step in communication management is to devise the message that has to be delivered. In the time of crisis, devising a message for communication can be tough due to other pressures and concerns, prescript messages can be of help in such a situation. Prescript messages can be devised beforehand based upon the analysis of Risk Assessment. They ensure that the company is ready to communicate with each type of audience with relevant information promptly if the crisis strikes. Messages should be scripted to address the specific needs of each audience, which may include:
Customer – “When will I receive my order?” “What will you give me to compensate for the delay?”
Employee – “When should I report to work?” “Will I have a job?” “Will I get paid during the shutdown or can I collect unemployment?” “What happened to my co-worker?” “What are you going to do to address my safety?” “Is it safe to go back to work?”
Government Regulator – “When did it happen?” “What happened (details about the incident)?” “What are the impacts (injuries, deaths, environmental contamination, safety of consumers, etc.)?”
Elected Official – “What is the impact on the community (hazards and economy)?” “How many employees will be affected?” “When will you be back up and running?”
Suppliers – “When should we resume deliveries and where should we ship to?”
Management – “What happened?” “When did it happen?” “Was anyone injured?” “How bad is the property damage?” “How long do you think production will be down?”
Neighbors in the Community – “How can I be sure it’s safe to go outside?” “What are you going to do to prevent this from happening again?” “How do I get paid for the loss I incurred?”
News Media – “What happened?” “Who was injured?” “What is the estimated loss?” “What caused the incident?” “What are you going to do to prevent it from happening again?” “Who is responsible?”
One important component of the communication management with your audience is consistency of the message. Often the situation keeps changing during an emergency and audience demands information on hourly basis. Business community is responsible of developing consistency within the messages that are being addresses to the audience again and again during a crisis. If however the communication is not consistent, audience’s concerns are left unmet. Another important purpose of the crisis communication plan is to move from reaction to the crisis, to managing a strategy for overcoming the crisis. Management needs to develop the strategy and the crisis communications team needs to implement that strategy by allaying the concerns of each audience.
Communication Management: Resources for communication
During a crisis, audience and stakeholders raises demands for information on the business which the organization is bound to provide. However, the information and communication management should be resourceful. The contact and information hub helps business community to manage its communication with all type of audiences. Employees from various departments can be assigned to converse with a definite audience.
The contact center should be appropriately equipped with staff to answer the requests of the audience on all types of communication outlets e.g., website, bulletin boards, call center etc. The staff working within the contact center should be provided with scripts and “frequently asked questions” (FAQ) to address concerns of the audience constantly and precisely.
Having a constant and effective stream of communication management with all the potential audiences is of the top priority for business communities. Ineffective or broken communication can bring along other adverse consequences besides harmful consequences of a crisis itself. Such a threat calls for any organization to stay prepared for addressing concerns of its audience regarding an emergent situation. In order to prevent your company from getting handicapped due to unpreparedness, Crisis Prevention and Restoration for Business offers its services and expertise for devising crisis communication plans to handle communication management. For benefiting from our expertise, contact Crisis prevention and business restoration by calling us at: 415.891.9107 or emailing us at: CPR4BIZ@gmail.com