The new communications manual: automate
The rapidly-evolving technology landscape has, of course, provided more modern means of communication; SMS, email, mobile and social media have extended communications pathways and each present powerful mechanisms for real-time, instant messaging. But, despite being strengthened by a whole raft of communications channels, incident management processes are all-too-often dependent on a monologue, where there is little or no interaction between either party. These models are a hostage to fortune – and, as incident resolution times naturally extend, they can potentially cost a fortune too.
The key to progress, with all the inherent benefits of operational efficiencies and productivity gains, is to make the journey from manual to automated processes. Yet in today’s fast-paced and hi-tech business environment, it’s surprising to learn that, despite the relatively straightforward opportunity to build automation into their communication infrastructure, few organisations have integrated ‘messaging’ into their CRM workflow and business processes. And in the rare examples where companies have made the leap, automation is often focused solely on outbound notification and has no ability to handle replies, correlate responses and appropriately escalate incident management in a controlled and measurable fashion.
Right said thread
To deliver a more interactive – and audible model of incident management, companies should consider adopting innovative ‘threading’ technology. Threading allows matching of messages between companies and end users, irrespective of the quantity and sequence of messages – and without the need for complex and error-prone identifiers in the body of the message. This simple technology can be used to enhance all types of business communications – both internal and customer-focused – but it is particularly effective in the sphere of incident management and in instances that require urgent response.
Threading software works across multiple communication channels and can help manage escalation pathways during critical incidents – allowing organisations to expedite response, minimise disruption and maximise operational efficiencies. The effective identification of – and interactive communication with – relevant stakeholders triggers a cascade of pre-configured actions and responses – underpinned by ongoing communications until incidents are alleviated.
The availability of a reply path provides organisations with an audit trail that accounts for the status of its stakeholders – allowing additional follow-up action to be managed by exception. Fundamentally, by building automation into workflow and business processes, threading opens up a transparent dialogue between key stakeholders to assure operational teams that incidents are being appropriately escalated, addressed and rectified – and that the safety of employees is monitored and protected.
Next month, Peter looks at the benefits of bringing automation into incident management processes.
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