How to Manage Incidents Like an Expert
Most incident managers will tell you that the number one goal of handling an incident is to minimize the negative impact. That’s a sound strategy for any company, but it’s a bit vague. The key is to have a plan for minimizing the negative impact. It’s easy to establish a plan but executing the plan can be daunting.
When an incident occurs, it’s a good idea to have a team that’s assigned to handle different functions that are already outlined in the incident management plan. A highly recommended strategy is to divide key functions for minimizing the negative impact among the leadership team. For example, the incident manager will guide the team, subject matter experts will identify the best course of action, the operations manager will implement the resolution and the communications manager will oversee the development of all correspondence with both internal and external stakeholders. However, the titles and roles will depend on the nature of your business. If all of the roles are clearly defined in advance, it generally allows the team to move forward with a greater level confidence.
One of the best ways to ensure an effective process is through the use of any Incident Management Software. During the process of minimizing the risk, there are other activities that can take place simultaneously. Of foremost importance is an investigation to understand how the issue occurred. While there’s a tendency to assign investigation of the incident to a sin
gle point of contact, some IT experts recommend sharing the responsibility with multiple people in order to get a clear and unbiased understanding of the cause. In many cases, the cause is multifaceted and a culmination of several failures. Having more than one independent investigation is a great way to identify the cause and resolve the problem quickly. It’s important to ensure ongoing communication with all parties involved.
One of the challenges that often arise during an incident is that customer end of alerting the business instead of the business alerting customers. This does not bode well as it relates to earning customer satisfaction and fostering loyalty. Customers should be notified as soon as the problem is uncovered. A common frustration that customers report is having a system that’s not working and not being able to confirm if it’s a larger issue or an isolated incident. This is particularly troublesome because it’s so easy to provide a simple message on the website, in a social media post or in a voicemail message. Early notification will satisfy most customers, while at the same time letting them know that you’re on top of things.
The implementation of a monitoring system with an alert feature is a great way to make sure you’re notified as soon as an issue occurs. Technical teams can use monitoring systems to detect changes in patterns, which can be an indicator that a problem is on the horizon. One of the most important elements of an incident management program is learning outcomes that are gained by assessing the results of the investigations. It’s critical to learn from prior incidents so that you don’t repeat the same mistake.