Coronavirus continues its spread across the globe, increasing its pressure on markets, governments, companies, and individuals alike.
As more and more organizations, businesses, and global leaders urge caution and take increasingly serious measures to halt the spread of the disease, companies are feeling the pain.
Our customers all over the world use the Twilio platform to build meaningful, deep relationships with their customers, guests, and users. Communication lies at the core of those relationships. Working closely with our customers as they develop the world’s best customer engagement and communication strategies, we’ve seen some powerful best practices emerge.
Below you’ll find insight on crisis communications, elastic communications, and business continuity, garnered from our own customers as well as from within Twilio itself, as we do our best to support our customers and our own team at this time of crisis. We will continue to update this post as we develop additional resources, so bookmark it and check back in in the coming days.
If you’d like more guidance, we’re here to help. Reach out to us.
Crisis communication best practices in light of COVID-19
Effective crisis communications, both within an organization as well as between a company and its customers, requires a delicate balance between providing relevant information in a timely manner without contributing to panic or already heightened states of stress.
- Manage expectations through ongoing, regular communication—via regular emails at a predictable cadence, virtual office hours, and resource hotlines, among other strategies—that is accessible and takes things like time zones and the availability of technology into consideration.
- Take the time to absorb and digest new information before disseminating it more broadly. The 24/7 news cycle can make everything feel like an urgent emergency; pause to collect your thoughts and reflect before blasting an entire employee base or customer group with the latest update.
- Choose the right channel and method of delivery for each piece of communication. Texts are intrusive and personal, and often inappropriate for routine updates, for example.
Harvard Business Review compiled an excellent resource on crisis communications all business leaders should read.
The importance of elastic comms and infrastructure scaling in times of crisis
COVID-19 has forced countless businesses to rethink how they go about their day to day business in an increasingly fluid, unpredictable time.
One way in which businesses must respond is via an elastic, flexible communications structure that can adapt and scale rapidly. The key elements of elasticity, flexibility, and scalability of your communications and customer engagement infrastructure determine how effectively your organization is able to respond in crisis.
Such a platform enables companies to better engage with their customers in the way their customers want and expect in today’s cloud-based world, and times of crisis are no exception—in fact, at times like these, businesses must be even more focused on enabling solutions that scale and flex as needs evolve.
Communications platforms connect calls, texts, and other forms of communication using geographically-distributed data centers around the world, offering the scale and reliability that make it possible for your business to expand without worrying if the contact center can keep up.
Here are key considerations for building a communications platform to weather every possible storm—COVID-19 included.
- Ensure content accuracy. Misinformation breeds distrust; our message content must be rendered and delivered correctly around the world.
- Know your limits. Make sure you have a way to reliably reach all your customers globally.
- Plan to rely on multiple global carrier networks, to ensure your service remains reliable. Ideally, the communications platform has provisions for automated failover, a full-time carrier ops team, real-time routing, and data centers located around the world.
- Protect sensitive information at all times in accordance with all applicable regulations, including HIPAA. Third-party providers should be ISO 27000-certified (this is a family of information security standards published by the International Organization for Standardization).
Why business continuity is priority No. 1 in the time of COVID-19
Having a plan in place to ensure business can continue on as best as possible, despite the real and often scary disruptions we are facing every day, can be the difference between surviving—even thriving—in a time of crisis versus crumbling.
At Twilio, thousands of organizations of all sizes across the world rely on our cloud communications platform to exchange millions of calls, messages, video chats, conferences, and so much more every single day.
In today’s climate, ensuring we are able to continue to support those customers is critical; we support organizations delivering lifesaving care, ensure telehealth providers can connect patients and doctors, and support our customers as they do their absolute best to operate in difficult circumstances.
An effective business continuity program is rooted in a holistic approach to identifying and addressing risk across all areas of our business and the external factors that support it. It takes more than a secure platform and high-availability architecture to maintain the standards our customers expect—we have developed strategies for risk mitigation, response, and recovery for not just the Twilio platform, but our partners, systems, employees, and beyond.
We find ourselves in difficult times. At Twilio, we’re committed to supporting you as we all navigate these uncertain waters together. If you have product, pricing, or technical questions related to COVID-19 response, please contact us.