What Your Clients Need to Know about Crisis Communication
Your clients are investing heavily in crisis management resources. That’s good. But it’s also important to remember that crises often become infamous when communication with and between stakeholders goes awry. That’s the purview of crisis communication. What do your clients need to know?
Where crisis communication came from
For starters, crisis communication emerged as a discipline out of the field of Applied Communication. Within the field largely devoted to studying social problems, crisis communication stood out, dealing with mediated messages to various stakeholders at moments of heightened pressure.
Crisis communication, from there, has evolved to where it stands today in incident and critical event management, consisting primarily of the collection, processing, and dissemination of information required to address a given crisis.
Inherent challenges to effective crisis communication
If we study it in the academy, why’s it still so hard to get crisis communication right?
Well, challenges to effective crisis communication remain significant. The most significant include (1) limited situational awareness, (2) clogged communication paths, (3) poor communication forms and content, and (4) lack of a common ground.
How does each manifest during critical events? Clients should know that communication problems can take the following forms:
- Lack of situation awareness. Results from inability to communicate long and short-term goals, functions, capacity, and resources. Uncertainty and worry can result from resources arriving as a surprise – or not arriving at all. Here, dynamic information central to the task at hand isn’t relayed due to communication problems.
- Clogged communication pathways. Occurs when information is relayed but problems arise with finding the right person to contact. Here, information gets “stuck.” Staff might become overloaded with information of unclear provenance; and/or informal communication paths form, but often hinder the cohesion of the operation. Researchers have found that it’s often a lack of practice in informing others about own activities that clog communication pathways.
- Poor communication forms and content. Similarly, time-consuming and ineffective forms of communication can also bog down operations. For instance, when adequate documentation is lacking, the hand-over of roles becomes more laborious, as it’s unclear what information other actors need.
- Lack of a common ground. When multiple parties are involved in crisis response, different opinions and ideas about fundamental concepts often occur. This results from the different communication styles of different organizations. Staff rotation might also affect communication since it takes time for people to get to know each other.
Digital capabilities to mitigate key crisis communication challenges
Fortunately, the right measures can overcome many key crisis communication challenges. One of the more significant – having clients invest in the right digital capabilities.
What does that look like? Clients should be enabled to use a single critical event management platform to centralize, approve, standardize, and manages their crisis communications.
What should clients look for, specifically? Consider the following digital capabilities:
- Send email, SMS, voice, and app push notifications to people, groups, or roles
- Define message templates, with dynamic content populated from a related event or other data
- System inbox to receive email messages
- Relate messages to events, assets, or other objects, to form part of that record and include in timelines
- Include message response links in email or SMS, and audible response prompts in voice messages, to capture responses from recipients
- Include links back to objects in the system in your message content
- Automate messages, notifications, and responses using dedicated workflows
- Define system email addresses to organize communications according to business areas and manage who can view and respond to certain communications
But clients don’t have to do the scouting for themselves. You can help by becoming a Noggin Partner. The Program gives you the power to add our critical event management platform to your software toolbelt. Read up on how to become a Noggin Partner.