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What Has COVID-19 Taught You About Your Communications and Services?

April 9, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for businesses of all sizes. One common blind spot is crisis communications. Here’s how tech can help.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven an effective stress test for businesses of all sizes. As they scramble to take their work remote and still deliver under challenging working conditions, companies are seeing blind spots in communications and services that might have previously been hidden (or just ignored). Companies that invest now will be able to take steps to improve once the crisis passes.

One common blind spot is communications during a crisis (natural or manmade). During times of distress, how do you communicate efficiently with large groups of people while also tailoring messages for individual roles? Existing IT systems, email, and messaging services simply aren’t up to the job. If you send out a mass email to 10,000 people, the information can’t be nuanced enough to be relevant to every person. If you send out 10,000 individual emails with unique information, that will take an untold number of hours.

Why Do Blind Spots Happen?

There are two reasons companies don’t realize their communication tools aren’t up to snuff until they’re in the middle of a disaster.

For one, many companies don’t invest in purpose-built crisis management software because they don’t foresee ever having to respond to a disaster. And understandably so, investing in a piece of software that’s only useful when the worst iss happening means the software is quickly forgotten during the actual emergency, making the purchase justification difficult. However, companies of all types need to know how to respond and communicate during a disaster.

Secondly, most businesses work at near 100% capacity and have no real-time operational visibility. If something goes wrong, whether it be employee illness, product malfunction, or a natural disaster, these businesses have no resources to devote to problem resolution. They don’t know about issues until they occur and are then forced to disrupt their normal operations to fix them. If managers have full visibility into the company, however, they can catch problems before they occur and plan accordingly.

Two people using technology to communicate

 

Tech Can Give You 20/20 Vision

The key to removing blind spots is technology. The right tools can give you operational visibility into every aspect of your business and enable smart strategy and efficient operations even during a crisis. In other words, tech can provide operational readiness, helping you exert fine-tuned control over your daily operations and preparing you to react to any situation that arises.

Companies need to invest in systems designed to provide 360-degree situational awareness and coordinate teams under every scenario — such as when companies are forced to go completely remote overnight.

Technologies like Zoom and Slack are helping fill in that technology gap, but those systems stand alone and are ungoverned spaces typically filled with chatter. They’re not integrated into existing systems and processes, so their effect on employee collaboration and connection to the larger processes is limited to mere chatting, but not built for doing.

Instead, you should seek out software solutions that will enable collaboration as an extension of your systems of record, whether that’s ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship management), or HRM (human resources management) systems. After all, you’ve probably been building out those systems for decades. Why wouldn’t you want technology that can help you make the most of those systems while also encouraging more effective business practices?

Investing in software that enables 360-degree situational awareness will benefit businesses well beyond the COVID-19 era. Coolfire’s collaboration software, for example, supports daily operations, providing better operational visibility and tools to get work done — but can also be used to rally a team during a crisis.

COVID-19 has brought numerous hurdles for businesses. This is a difficult situation, but it’s also an opportunity to identify your blind spots and put together a plan for the future.