We have a simple solution.
What will be one of the biggest challenges for crisis communicators in 2017?
In this day and age, when something goes wrong – there’s a bomb threat in your building, an active aggressor at the front door, or a severe weather event on its way - your stakeholders (consumers, employees, partners etc.) will expect to be alerted immediately.
They know the technology exists (through SMS, mobile apps, email, smart-watches, live tv screens, auto-calls, PAs, social media etc.) – and they’ll expect you to have the latest technology to do all the above.
What're the consequences of not responding quickly?
Someone else will fill the information vacuum that you leave and suddenly you’ve lost all hope of keeping any control of the situation and the scenario that develops.
If you don't provide the critical information that your stakeholders will be looking for in a crisis (i.e. what’s just happened, what’re you doing to solve it and what should I do) then they will immediately doubt your ability to manage the incident and protect them.
If something goes seriously wrong on your organisation’s watch and you’re brought before a court of law and they ask "how did you alert all your staff to the incident?" - If your response is that you sent an email about 30 minutes in and hoped it got out to all your staff – you’ll have a lot more explaining to do.
So what's the solution?
Over the past six months, we’ve been working with a mass incident alerting tool from the States called AtHoc. AtHoc has already been deployed at the US Army and Air Force, Microsoft, Homeland Security, Shell as well as major universities and airports.
With AtHoc you can alert all your stakeholders (employees, customers, tenants, partners, suppliers etc.) in a matter of seconds and through a wide variety of channels (with templated messages ready to go out for different scenarios on mobile, landline, desktop, EWIS, TVs, radios, social media and more). It is also allows for two-way communications; message received – I’m safe - I’m under duress – here’s a photo or video from the scene – automatic patch in to a conference call line.
In 2017, you’ve got to be able to communicate with all your stakeholders, and you’ve got to be able to do it efficiently; your community will expect nothing less, nor should they.