5 tips for using chatbots in crisis communication

Chatbots in crisis communication

In times of crisis, a fast and reliable flow of information is essential: Inquiries from customers, employees and the press become more frequent. Service staff and crisis teams then quickly reach their limits. The various stakeholder groups often ask recurring questions. At this point, a crisis chatbot can help to accelerate internal and external communication, relieve employees and successfully master crises. In this article we give you 5 tips on how to successfully use chatbots in your crisis management.

#1: Create crisis chatbots as dark elements

Successful crisis management depends on extensive and early preparation. Those who prepare for a crisis before it occurs remain capable of acting in an emergency and can manage the situation quickly and effectively. For this purpose, you should usually anticipate potential crisis scenarios and develop a communication strategy. These form the basis for concrete communication elements such as holding statements or social media postings, which are stored as so-called dark elements.

Crisis chatbots should also be considered in this procedure. After all, professional chatbots usually need some time to be designed and trained. If you start this process only in an acute crisis situation, the crisis can already be over by the time the bot is completed. We therefore recommend that you prepare not only statements and postings, but also chatbot communication based on a scenario catalog. The bot is then also created as a dark element and only needs to be activated in case of an emergency. This usually takes only a few minutes. Digital crisis management tools such as our CRISIS MANAGEMENT APP are particularly suitable for keeping track of its dark elements.

#2: Define your chatbot personality

Yes, chatbots also have personalities – and they can look very different. Depending on need and occasion, the bots can, for example, be particularly funny and always answer questions with a quick-witted remark. To ensure that your crisis chatbot does not cause trouble and anger on the chatters’ side in an emergency, the personality of the bot must be tailored to the situation at hand. Otherwise, a crisis bot can quickly lead to an aggravation of the situation: If there is an accident in your company, for example, with injured or even dead people and your crisis chatbot is telling funny jokes, this can – justifiably – quickly lead to anger, indignation and a digital firestorm in social media. We therefore recommend that you rely on the support of experts when designing the content of chat bots and that you give the bot situation-specific personality characteristics.

#3: Use crisis chatbots in internal communication

Using chatbots in external crisis communication is quite obvious. But internal crisis management also offers many possibilities for crisis bots. Bots can relieve and accelerate internal communication. If the bot is active in the internal communication system, your employees can quickly retrieve important information. For example, if the press office receives an inquiry on certain topics, the chatbot can provide up-to-date information, statements or attitudes to the issue. These are entered and continuously updated by the crisis team. Thus the internal use of crisis chatbots also harmonizes external crisis communication.

#4: Integrate crisis chatbots into existing channels

Most companies already have internal and external communication channels. Chatbots should usually be integrated into these, as additional channels unnecessarily complicate the situation. In external communication, this means that chatbots should be used primarily on channels where most questions accumulate. These usually include your own social media channels. In addition, the bot should be placed on the company website – easy to find. Internally, existing communication tools should be used. Smart chatbots like the crisis communication bot CRICOBO by PREVENCY® are usually able to do this.

#5: Crisis chatbots as additional early warning system

Another possible application of chatbots in crisis communication is the analysis of the crisis situation and the evaluation of communication measures. Good chatbot providers make it possible to evaluate the communication received via the bot. In addition to the escalation monitoring, which is useful in crisis situations, a monitoring of the bot communication can thus take place. If an increase of certain keywords or questions is detected, the crisis communication can be adjusted accordingly. The evaluation of the chatbot communication also provides information about the prevailing sentiment among the chatters on the other side of the screen. If this sentiment is known, tailored communication measures can help to manage the crisis in the best possible way.

Ultimately, crisis chatbots offer many innovative advantages for crisis communication and will probably be seen more and more often in the future. However, in order for the bots to have the greatest possible effect, they must be applied and used correctly. If you would like to learn more about crisis chat bots, their possible applications and success factors, you will find more detailed information in this article.

Would you like to use a crisis chatbot in your company yourself? We are happy to help!

Better safe than sorry.