Digital crisis management: COVID-19 the ultimate ‘disruptor’

Digital crisis management: COVID-19 the ultimate ‘disruptor’
9th April 2020

Unexpected events can result in agile working and innovative business solutions–is your organisation prepared for digital crisis management in the wake of COVID-19?

The global spread of COVID-19 and the action taken to slow it, is affecting the foundations of our society around us. Routines, which were once strictly adhered to, have disappeared and been replaced by flexible working. Many organisations are striving to maintain an air of normality in unexpected and challenging circumstances with digital crisis management becoming a main business priority.

Global use of internet-enabled devices is greater than ever before. The internet is now deep-rooted in our everyday routines, both in our personal and professional lives. At this time of uncertainty, those affected by COVID-19 are connecting with their family and friends on their tables, phones and laptops. Enterprises that are digitally enabled have made the switch to home working. Both examples make being in isolation just that little bit easier to cope with. But in terms of business, there has been an instantaneous need to survive through digital means only – how have organisations reacted to this new immediate priority?

How prepared is your organisation?

For a number of years, businesses have been traveling along a digital transformation roadmap. Some organisations who were ahead on their digital journey will excel at this time of change. They may even thrive in this new disparate society. Those who had thought ahead and accelerated their digital transformation strategy may have planned for such crisis situations. With the arrival of government restrictions, these organisations have been able to implement responsive business models which will now place them in front of their competition. This makes digital crisis management easier for these organisations.

For businesses that may have discounted or held back on developing digitally, now is the time to act. Companies must move quickly to ensure their workforce are able to continue in their existing roles from their new ‘home offices’, with uncertainty in the months ahead for all. In the hope that once the battle against COVID-19 has been won and companies may adopt their use as a permanent feature, tech giants Google, Microsoft and Silicon Valley Start-ups Slack and Zoom are all offering their remote working platforms for free.

If IT systems are under strain and VPN’s are not capable of accommodating a full workforce some organisations face an uphill battle in the coming weeks to ensure their infrastructure is capable of handling this transition. So, what action can you take now to try and make this switch to a new digital reality easier?

Three key digital priorities:

1. Make sure people are updated

  • Use your social accounts for digital crisis management. In times of uncertainty Social Media is more important than ever. Ensure your customers can quickly find out how you are responding to the developments and how service may be disrupted as rules and restrictions have been changing sometimes on an hourly basis.
  • Summarise how your organisation is reacting to COVID-19 by reaching out to your email database. Remember to mention any changes you’ve made to the way you work but don’t forget to include some positive news.
  • Keep your website blog or news section updated with all your announcements – making sure that you cover all the touchpoints your customer may search for information.
  • Go the extra mile and install a pop-up banner or customer header on your website homepage which provides a link to your COVID-19 updates.
  • Keep your workforce connected with instant messaging. Using Microsoft Teams to collaborate digitally is a great way to keep colleagues updated. The collaborative nature of the technology and in-built video options can maintain a sense of teamwork and togetherness.

2. Respond to your community

  • Prioritise monitoring your social channels. Posting updates on Twitter is great but if a client replies and it’s not entirely positive you could end up with a PR disaster if you aren’t around to subdue the unrest at speed.
  • Excellent customer service can be demonstrated with real time reaction to issues that may pop up. Huge numbers of people looking to social media for guidance. Go the extra mile and let people know if the product or service you are providing can help someone in need or solve a problem.
  • Advise website visitors about the effect of the crisis on customer support teams. If there is likely to be a lag before consumers get a response, use up-front messaging to set expectations on when they can expect a response.

3. Do you have an agile approach to digital crisis management?

  • Flexible strategies work best in a crisis situation. You may have been a high street business pre COVID-19, but with increasing numbers of people avoiding or unable to visit shops due to restrictions, now is the time to take that leap into the digital world.
  • The needs of your staff are changing rapidly as this global tragedy leaves millions affected. Flexible and responsive working arrangements will allow your employees to react to their own emergencies and stay faithful to your organisation.
  • Give people the choice of finding your product or service on an e-commerce site. Diversifying your offering may just enable you to stay afloat during these turbulent times.
  • Once you have organised your businesses immediate digital needs, its then time to start thinking about the future. You could try running a digital marketing audit at your organisation. It’s like a MOT of your digital abilities that will help ascertain what steps you need to take to move forward on your digital transformation roadmap.

How can Kagool help your organisation?

We don’t know how long COVID-19 restrictions will be in place, but what we do know is that acting now could be the difference between a business existing in 18 months or that business sadly failing. Adopting digital crisis management best practice can make a real difference to colleagues and customers alike.

COVID-19 maybe be the biggest ‘disruptor’ that a number of generations have witnessed, but disruption is the predecessor to innovation. Use this time to innovate and push forward your organisation’s digital strategy.

Here at Kagool, we have been helping enterprise-level businesses achieve their digital goals since 1999, through designing, building and optimising websites using Sitecore. We have a team of Google certified, digital marketing experts, dedicated to helping our clients get the most out of their activity and how to get the best results from their digital marketing strategy. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist with digital crisis management.