Tuesday, 23 December 2014

On disruption and communication

Brighton Beach Snowman 1 by Neil Chalk
As the festive season gets into full swing, I am glad that I am not reliant on using mass public transport before I can relax and enjoy myself this year. Especially after reading the news this morning - predicting rail disruption caused by floods in the mild weather

For around the past decade my day job has involved helping travel companies in passenger communications; as distilled into these top tips of The 3 Big Ideas In Managing Passenger Disruption or in Managing Travel Disruption that looks at more crisis orientated passenger communications.

But from the small journeys that I have taken in the past week, whether by bus or train, one takeaway has been that small delays can be frustrating when you don't know the reason or trust the information provided. And trust really is a key issue, as important when things are going right as when disaster hits. After all if people can't trust the information you give them when things are going smoothly they aren't going to feel reassured when things are going wrong.

The second thing I think is important for really smooth crisis communications is being really good at doing it. Having a good plan that can be executed in a crisis is essential. For it to really be well implemented then you need good communications to be second nature. You need staff familiar with using the same tools and infrastructure, the best way of doing that is to be good at communicating when things are going well, aside from the small delays. This ties neatly into my first observation, building trust when things are going well also helps train people for effective communications when a disaster strikes.

Well, my brain is just about ready to switch off now and enjoy some mince pies. So season's greetings wherever you may be!

Edit: I've written an addition to this piece looking at some of the events in the past week - On disruption and communication 2

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