Handling communications in a crisis event

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We all know that things go wrong, so it’s important to plan for disruption and crisis

British Airways dominated the bank holiday weekend news in the UK:

£500m wiped off share value, estimated £150m compensation, damage to brand reputation, extremely unhappy customers. All down to a global IT power outage.

We all know that things go wrong, so it’s important to plan for disruption and “crisis”, and crucially to test the process and systems involved while adopting a continuous learning program. British Airways will of course recover and maintain its brand integrity, but let’s run through some quick tips around the customer experience (CX) and communications, as many reports cited the fact that customers were relying on 3rd party updates via Twitter rather than official updates:

1: Think through a range of worst case scenarios with the broader business,

2: Plan, discuss and agree on a Crisis Communications Strategy covering people, process and technology – ensure your systems and people are able to leverage data and information in real-time to provide help and assistance,

3: Execute the Strategy and undertake a training program across the business,

4: Test this process regularly and ensure that each team member knows how to invoke it including on-spec/ follow-on actions,

5: Once invoked keep a continuous monitoring and engagement process active (the right technology will do this automatically),

6: Keep your customers (and staff) informed proactively across all channels!

7: Provide the customer with links to claim forms and relevant online information – don’t leave them in limbo,

8: Once the situation is resolved communicate this out and offer feedback to learn what could have been improved from the CX perspective.

There are a number of solutions that can help with an unplanned event/ outage/ crisis. Odigo, for example, provides omnichannel communications, strategy, and applications that enable organizations to effectively manage customer interactions in such situations.

Feel free to add your own tips and experiences in the comments section!

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