It’s easy for communication to get lost in the chaos of trying to resolve a major IT incident. But while it seems like communication isn’t going to solve your problem, it can actually play a major role in the process.

Identifying who to communicate with and how often plays a critical part in successful IT incident management. You need to determine who your key stakeholders are and then tailor each message to their specific needs.

Internal IT Support Team

Communicating with your IT support team is really focused on quickly conveying information to these key resources and getting them engaged and working on the problem. You want to ensure you can reach them on multiple channels so that there’s no delay in getting their attention.

Relying on a single channel – like email or page – isn’t going to be enough when a major system fails and you need your best people focused on resolving the problem. Being able to alert them on multiple channels – with automatic, escalating alerts – is the key to getting your IT resources engaged.

Business Leaders

Sending out informative, targeted alerts to the business leaders affected by the outage can help limit the questions and support tickets the IT service desk receives. By proactively communicating what the issue is, what’s being done to fix it and when you expect it to be resolved, you’re eliminating a lot of the pressure that is caused by unplanned downtime.

These business leaders can also serve as an ally, communicating directly with customers if the outage affects anyone outside the organization.

Providing them with any technical information or expected time for updates also helps them proactively communicate with customers and avoid the dissatisfaction that a major service interruption can cause.

Users

The largest group affected by outages, users can negatively impact your IT incident management efforts by flooding the service desk with support tickets. While a few tickets can be helpful in alerting you to an issue, being inundated with them only creates another problem to deal with and wastes time that could be better spent fixing the outage.

Like the proactive approach advocated for business leaders, users also benefit from early communication. As soon as you know there’s a problem, let the affected users know what’s going on, what workaround they can use and when you expect to send out the next update.

This significantly reduces the frustration they feel and avoids them sending in multiple support tickets in an effort to get answers.

Getting The Message Right

Once you know the key stakeholder groups you need to communicate with, think about the best way to communicate with each of them.

Write your alerts so they’re brief but informative, highlighting the issue and any steps you want people to take. Think about your audience, message and mode as you write alerts:

  • Audience: Who is the alert going to? An IT alerting system allows you to target only those people affected by a location-based or system-based event.
  • Message: What should the alert say? Your goal is to help people, so use easy-to-understand language.
  • Mode: What channels are you going to use? Ideally, you’ll have the option to send messages across multiple channels, from email and text to mobile app push notifications and pagers.

Thinking through communications and building this into your incident management process will ensure you can smoothly and quickly send out critical information, stemming frustration and limiting disruptions in your organization.

To learn more about the critical role that a stakeholder communication plan plays in successful IT incident management, download our new eBook, “Streamlining IT Service Desk Incident Management: 3 Process Changes To Make Now.”

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