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10 key lessons for incident response and communication

by Abbie-Lee Hollister, on Feb 12, 2019 11:57:14 AM

Underestimating how important your incident communication is can cause major problems for your business, and huge damage to your brand. 

When you're faced with incidents in your organisation, it's sometimes difficult to know exactly how to respond or communicate issues. For many businesses, this results in a lack of communication altogether - only sending out a quick 'send to all' email once the issue been resolved.  

 

1. Be clear with users when an incident arises, let them know what's happened and when to expect updates

If you don't know what's happening just yet, you should still communicate that a service is down and make them aware you're investigating the issue. Telling users when to expect the next update also helps to build trust during an incident.  Click to Tweet.

 

2. To save time, use templates where possible to send out notifications

Pre-configuring templates for sending out communication makes it much easier to get the message out to your team in a hurry. Rather than worrying about the wording of your message, you can edit out a template and hit send in a matter of seconds.  

 

3. Have clearly defined roles within your organisation and ensure there is ownership

Ensure that every member of your team knows what their role is when an incident arises.  Click to Tweet. Who's responsibility is it to send out communication to the right people? Is there someone who approves incidents notifications before they're sent? 

 

Ensure that members of your team take ownership - without it, incident communications becomes an afterthought. 

 

4. To increase engagement, ensure your incident communications are tailored towards users

Tailor your incident planning towards your users, try to allow them to receive notifications that work for them, on the channels they use.  Click to TweetThis will help to increase engagement from users, and keep productivity up. 

 

5. Brevity is key - keep things as simple as possible

When sending out communications, the most important aspect is that you let users know what's happening fast. Brevity is cruicial when you send notifications to avoid information overload - keep it simple with the key points they need to know. 

 

6. Test out your incident plan on a regular basis and assess how successful it is 

If you're currently using email to send out incident notifications, do you have a backup communication channel if your email experiences downtime? When responding to incidents, ensure that you've thought of possible situations that might impact on your ability to carry out your incident plan.  Click to Tweet.

 

7. Centralise key incident information so your users can access all updates whenever they need to

Having a centralised tool for viewing all active incidents is key for transparancy across the organisation. Plus, it empowers users to be able to check on the incidents themselves without needing to raise tickets with service desk. 

 

8. Choose an incident communication tool that is cloud-based

A cloud-based incident communication tool means that you don't need to rely on having access to systems that might experience downtime. This means you can continue to communicate on any channel, whenever you need to, which is one less thing to worry about when an incident arises. 

 

A cloud-based incident communication tool means that you don't need to rely on having access to systems that might experience downtime.

 

9. Gather all the information together and spend some time to review major incidents 

When a major incident happens make sure that you review your process, how many users viewed their notification? Did you update users when you said you would do? Spend a little bit of time to make a detailed review of what went well and what could be improved.

 

10. Ensure amendments are made from lessons learned during previous incidents

After you've reviewed an incident, it's crucial you update your incident management plan to reflect the lessons learned from the previous events.  Click to Tweet. After these amendments are made it's also a good idea to test out your plan again. 

 

Conclusions:

Be proactive in your incident responses, ensure that there is a clear communication plan in place that can be executed effectively when an incident arises. With clear ownership and responsibilities set out, your incident communications can create a positive experience from those within your organisation, ultimately boosting confidence and internal brand image.

Want to learn more? Check out this collection of incident planning articles.  

 

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Topics:CommunicationIncident PlanningBest Practices

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