crisis communications drowningStorms, bomb threats, accidents, criminal behavior… They’re topics we’d all prefer to avoid, but the reality is that crises afflict all kinds of organizations, every day of the week.

More often, routine hiccups (say, equipment malfunction, cancellations or scheduling mix-ups) also threaten to derail operations and customer satisfaction.

In any case, successful resolutions hinge on your organization’s ability to communicate effectively and immediately.

Which brings us to your crisis communication strategy: If you’re going to stake people’s welfare, your dollars and operations on it, it’d better work amazingly well, right? And, if it doesn’t, now is the time to find out: before you need it.

Rethinking Crisis Communications

You might want to rethink your crisis and mass notification capabilities if any of the following is true today:

  1. You have to get on multiple systems to announce an emergency.
    Does your staff really have the time and brain “bandwidth” to fire off emails, make calls, notify stakeholders, log into this and that system, and update social media channels when every second increases risks to people and property?
  2. You need A, B, C to happen before you can take appropriate action.
    Do you need to find a book, look up procedures, phone numbers, or wait for people to join a conference call before you can define what to do? No bueno.
  3. Undefined roles, procedures, or incomplete information.
    Don’t keep first responders or people who are hurt waiting for you to locate building plans or other relevant information, for instance.
  4. Untested plans.
    Perhaps you’ve poured time, effort and money into a crisis communications plan. But did you actually test it? If not, expect delays as your staff flips through plans and documentation trying to figure out who does what, and when.

Allow us to say it again: The best time to make sure none of the above happens when you have an emergency? Right now. Don’t wait to troubleshoot when you’re neck-deep into a crisis.