The rise of the internet and advanced communication systems has transformed the world into a close-knit global village. Irrespective of the size and nature of your business, you are likely operating as part of a global economy. This means your business could face the repercussions of something that happens on the opposite side of the world. A pandemic outbreak, for instance, could disrupt normal business operations and take a toll on your revenue.
The current coronavirus outbreak emphasizes the importance of an efficient crisis management plan and an emergency communication system. With corporate giants like Apple and HSBC taking a hit, it is high time you prepare your emergency communication plan. An effective solution is to use mass notifications to alert your employees and maintain contact with them.
Before we discuss how you can use mass notifications, let us first understand the importance of communication during a pandemic outbreak.
The Role of Emergency Communication
A pandemic outbreak can affect your business in more ways than one. First, it threatens the health and well-being of your employees, clients, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Moreover, it can disrupt supply chains and make certain business locations or equipment inaccessible. Consequently, your regular business operations come to a halt causing you to incur significant losses.
Even if the outbreak occurs in a different country or continent, your business may not be immune to its adverse effects. For instance, if one of your suppliers is based out of an affected region, they may become unavailable to service your business. Likewise, you might be working with remote employees living in the affected regions meaning their ability to contribute to your company's growth may be limited. Depending on the nature of your business, you may even have stores/outlets in such areas.
How can you ensure that your business isn’t affected by an outbreak? The key is to maintain uninterrupted communication with all your stakeholders. The role of communication isn’t just limited to alerting your employees and stakeholders about the pandemic itself. When used systematically, it helps continue smooth business operations even when certain employees and facilities become unavailable.
The absence of formal communications can cause severe panic among your employees. Thus, your first goal should be to make them aware of the steps they can take to protect themselves. It is also crucial to communicate with your suppliers/vendors and understand how they are positioned. This will help you devise alternate strategies in case a supplier becomes unavailable for some time.
Communication becomes even more vital when one of your offices is located in an affected area. The only way to ensure business continuity is to let your employees work from home if possible. Likewise, you should devise a way to keep in touch with remote employees based out of affected regions.
It is also essential to maintain uninterrupted communication with your clients. This becomes all the more crucial when you have a brick and mortar business. If your customers can’t physically visit you, you need to provide them with an alternate way to access your products.
So far, we have understood the importance of communication preparations before a pandemic outbreak. It is now time for us to find out how you can leverage mass notifications.
Using Mass Notifications During a Pandemic Outbreak
The biggest advantage of mass notifications is that they let you communicate with many people via multiple channels at once. This is crucial when you want to send alerts to your employees and other stakeholders about an impending outbreak. Make sure you notify them as soon as you learn about the outbreak from an official source.
It is also recommended that you send your stakeholders a list of steps they can take to safeguard themselves. You can even include information about vaccines and antidotes. Apart from protecting your employees, it positions you as a company that cares about its employees. Likewise, when your customers receive these updates, they too feel valued.
This can go a long way to prevent unnecessary panic among your employees and customers. In addition to informing everyone about the pandemic, you can use a mass notification system to maintain business continuity. The first step is to identify key personnel who can keep working and outline a communication plan for them. This is crucial because your employees will likely be forced to work from their homes.
Consequently, your usual communication systems may be severely limited. The only way out is to use an emergency notification system that facilitates two-way communication. It lets you receive responses and feedback from various recipients, thus helping you figure out the next course of action. This is also useful when you want to stay connected with remote employees and suppliers. To know which one to purchase, check out this thorough guide to emergency notification systems.
Additionally, you can use mass notifications to update employees about various business operations. You can let them know when a certain office location or equipment facility will likely be reopened. Likewise, you can update them about the key decision-makers and personnel whom they can contact in case of any questions. It also helps simplify the process of resuming normal business operations in the aftermath of the outbreak.
Another benefit of using mass notifications is that you get access to comprehensive delivery reports. This, in turn, helps you monitor who has received your messages and read them. You can even ask them to acknowledge receipt of your messages in real-time. Consequently, you can identify the people who haven’t received your updates and find an alternate method to contact them.
Moreover, most mass notification systems let you communicate using multiple channels, including social media, text messages, email, voice messages, etc. This helps ensure that your messages are delivered to the intended recipients irrespective of communication preference.
Flawless communication is the key to maintaining business continuity during any crisis. A pandemic outbreak isn’t an exception. In the absence of a concrete emergency communication plan, your business operations might come to a standstill. This, in turn, adversely affects your revenue and even threatens the health and safety of your employees and customers.
It is recommended that you include mass notifications in every step of your emergency communication plan. From alerting stakeholders about the pandemic to updating employees about the subsequent course of action - mass notifications play a crucial role. You can even stay connected with remote employees and send regular updates to your customers.
Has your business developed an emergency response plan to deal with the coronavirus outbreak? Share your views in the comments section below.