Is Your Phone System Part of Your Communication Crisis Plan?
Most of us don’t love the idea of spending our valuable time putting a crisis plan in place because what are the chances you are really going to need it? However, anyone who has experienced a business crisis would be quick to point out that in the event of a crisis, having a response plan in place helps to minimize the impact of that crisis.
One of the most important tools your business has is its phone system. Your phones serve as the main tool for you to communicate the level of the emergency, get the help needed, and ensure the safety of your business. If you lose dial tone on the phone system, your response efforts could be hindered.
Phones are Essential to Productivity
While we usually think of massive issues like floods, earthquakes and fires as disasters, smaller events like water damage or burglary can be equally catastrophic to businesses. When essential business elements like the phone system are compromised, productivity is lost, and the costs to the business can escalate rapidly.
Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
According to FEMA, 40% of businesses who fall victim to a crisis never reopen, and 25% fail within the first year following the crisis. Successful businesses today understand it is worth the investment to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. When crisis strikes, employees will want to understand what is happening, neighboring businesses may need to be informed, and emergency response teams may need to be called in. Preparation for all these elements is critical for proper and prompt execution.
Creating Your Crisis Communication Plan
When developing your crisis communication plan, there are five important elements that should be considered.
- Detailed Communication Methods: Outline exactly how your organization plans to communicate regarding the crisis. Included in this area are the purpose of the communication, who is in charge of activating it, as well as the procedures and tools (like your phone system) that will be used during the implementation.
- Crisis Communication Team: Create a team that is responsible for the collection of information regarding the crisis and for releasing it to interested parties and media. Roles should be outlined regarding who will be the spokesperson, who will monitor internal communication as well as backups for those roles. Be sure to keep an easily accessible record of the phone numbers and contact information for the team members.
- Key Responses: Think through some of the possible crisis situations your business could experience and develop responses that could be used or adjusted slightly during the emergency. Doing this will save time during the crisis.
- Develop an Internal Communications Process: Outline exactly how the employees will receive information regarding the situation. This should also include how employees should respond if communications tools like a phone system are no longer available. This internal communication should include the media and social media policies of the organization.
- Important Contacts: During a crisis, the response team should not be required to look for the phone numbers of people who need to be contacted. All important contacts should be identified with all emergency contact information. Examples would include police and fire departments, health organizations, and evacuation centers.
With all the elements involved in the crisis communication response, having the phone system go down would not be a welcomed addition to an already stressful situation. Although no system is completely disaster-proof, phone systems like Mitel Sky provide features to help ensure your plan is executed effectively.
The Mitel Sky Protection
The Mitel Sky IP phone systems offer some of the most cost-effective solutions to help prevent the loss of dial tone and connectivity in the event of a crisis.
Some of these key features include:
- Server Backup: There are multiple options for server backup so you are still able to manage the system and use advanced features.
- Double-Take: This solution uses a backup virtual server in another location with a WAN connection going back to the primary server.
- Mitel Sky Design: The backbone of the Mitel Sky system is through sound architecture and applications. The Sky design includes N+1 redundancy and switch-based hardware to ensure the highest level of availability.
Investing the necessary time into developing your company’s crisis communications plan is an important part of ensuring the stability of your organization. Doing so will ensure that if the business does face an emergency, you will not only be prepared to weather the storm while it’s happening, but also navigate the critical recovery period as well.