When you see the term ‘community relations’ referred to, it generally applies to the way in which a business, organisation or public body interacts with its employees, stakeholders or community. What it signifies is however much more than simply a member of the public or a client; it relates to the community relationships of that business, organisation or public body.
With any large organisation comes a much larger audience that often needs to be communicated with, that in turn makes enquiries of a business and as such, in a public relations environment, needs to be effectively managed. With such complexities of large-scale communication comes the threat that at some point in time, neglecting the wrong enquiry or simply forgetting to communicate an event with serious implications to your public can have disastrous consequences. With the need for community relations software Australian developers have been helping to manage and improved this process effectively for some time.
So, what are the benefits of this software and how can it help to manage and improve the public relations activities of your organisation?
Well first of all, with such a potentially large number of enquiries about your operations and activities, it can help to identify the most popular lines of enquiry – what subjects are trending, are there any common threads of enquiry, are there any bottlenecks – and therefore help to prioritise and optimise the actions of your response team. The daily activities of any large business are of course extremely complex, and as well as the corporate objectives, there can be all manner of performance goals in focus, shareholder expectations to satisfy, growth targets for specific business divisions and so on. Whilst the processes involved in running these organisations might be complex, the primary benefit of an automated software monitoring process is that it can enable simple, real-time views of what is going on, enabling your team to respond in with appropriate priority to the most pressing, urgent, or potentially disastrous of the trending issues.
The process of manually gathering information, attempting to discover problem scenarios, meeting, discussing and analysing data is of course very laborious and a potentially problematic process. Community relations software holds the ability to analyse and view the data it gathers in various formats. It can therefore provide dynamic reporting capabilities as well as deliver improved communication capabilities. By being able to track all of the information and communications within a business, it becomes the single point of truth.
The industries and sectors that can benefit from this kind of software are virtually limitless. As a few key examples, the negotiations for access to land owned by an indigenous communities in Australia can be better managed and reported on; consultation with key stakeholders in a remote community where plans for new infrastructure are likely to have significant impact can be monitored, collated and effectively managed. It holds potential benefits for businesses and organisations regularly involved in native land title management and cultural heritage such as mining and telecoms providers; any business that carries out environmental impact studies before they can plan and action their projects are likely to see significant communications benefits by adopting such software. Then of course there are the businesses involved in media relations, non-governmental organisations relations and investor relations.
A huge benefit of a managed system which pulls together all of the required data is that it can dramatically increase the productivity of your team. As well as automating the influx of information, an effective system will enable you to monitor the most important issues whilst simultaneously being able to keep track of what your own team are currently managing. Additionally, you can also prioritise tasks and make informed decisions about what issues should be tackled next.
The main benefit of having this information at your fingertips is that unlike the not too distant past, when meetings would finish and those involved would have just a vague idea of what they needed to do or were responsible for, a managed relationships system can deliver a crystal clear list of what needs to be tackled, and when it needs to be done, making individuals far more decisive and, ultimately, organisations for more reactive than ever before.