During a crisis, seeking all possible professional support is crucial, and one potential source of aid may soon be artificial intelligence. With the increasing prevalence of AI in public relations, it is inevitable that it will be utilised to support the entire PR function, and one key beneficiary of the AI revolution could be crisis communications. The ability to swiftly and accurately respond with information can often be the key to successfully mitigating a crisis.
This article examines the relevance of utilising ChatGPT in crisis communications and explores how it can be implemented during an actual crisis. It highlights the advantages of incorporating ChatGPT into a crisis communication strategy, outlines the necessary steps for implementation, emphasises the importance of customising and tailoring ChatGPT’s responses to specific crisis situations, and discusses the challenges and limitations of using it during a crisis.
Although ChatGPT has its limitations, it could prove to be an efficient and reliable tool for supporting crisis communication processes and becoming a valuable asset for PR professionals and teams seeking to enhance their workflows during crisis situations.
ChatGPT and its relevance in communications
In a previous article, we covered how ChatGPT can be used in PR and how it supports the PR workflow such as writing, editing, summarising, media monitoring, sentiment analysis, SEO, brainstorming, and ideation.
Its unique feature of sentiment analysis helps in understanding an audience’s emotions and feelings towards a particular topic. The tool also assists in SEO by suggesting keywords and phrases that can increase website traffic. Brainstorming and ideation are other significant features of ChatGPT that aid in generating new ideas for businesses and individuals alike. Moreover, the platform’s article summarising capability helps quickly summarise lengthy documents or research work.
One of the reasons why ChatGPT is relevant in communications is its ability to streamline communication processes, thus saving time and increasing productivity. With its various features, ChatGPT is a useful tool for PR professionals and teams looking to improve their workflows.
But how can ChatGPT support specific situations? Namely, crisis situations where speed and accuracy can often mean a matter of life and death.
How ChatGPT can be used for crisis communication
ChatGPT is an AI-powered chatbot that engages users in conversation, mimicking a human-like experience. Its core technology is based on natural language processing (NLP) and advanced machine learning algorithms that enable it to recognise and understand user inquiries and respond accordingly. ChatGPT has various features, including the ability to provide personalised recommendations and assistance on various topics.
The chatbot also has built-in support for multiple languages, making it easily accessible to users worldwide. One of the major advantages of ChatGPT is its ability to learn and improve its responses over time, making it an ever-evolving chatbot that gets better with use.
ChatGPT can be integrated into various messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Telegram. It offers a seamless experience providing accurate responses to their queries, offering a practical solution to stakeholder service and support within an organisation.
Examples of how ChatGPT can be used in crisis situations:
- Real-time response: ChatGPT can quickly and automatically produce reactive statements to inquiries, questions, and concerns during a crisis. This can be particularly useful during situations where there is a high volume of requests, or when response times are critical.
- Content creation support: From writing and editing to social media post generation, ChatGPT can quickly support your content strategy during a time of crisis. Editing and proofing by a human is still required but it can cut the content creation process exponentially.
- Multilingual support: ChatGPT can communicate in multiple languages, allowing organisations to reach a broader audience during a crisis. This can be particularly helpful when dealing with international crises or situations where there are multiple languages spoken.
- Consistency in messaging: ChatGPT can provide a consistent message across different communication channels, such as social media, email, and chat platforms. This can help to ensure that everyone receives the same information and reduces the risk of conflicting messages being disseminated.
- 24/7 availability: ChatGPT is available 24/7, which can be crucial during a crisis when people may be seeking information outside of traditional business hours.
- Data collection and analysis: ChatGPT can collect data on the types of questions being asked and the concerns being raised during a crisis. This data can be analysed to inform future crisis communication strategies and to identify areas where additional information or resources may be needed.
ChatGPT can improve crisis communication by providing a fast, consistent, and multilingual response, while also collecting valuable data that can inform future PR strategies.
Steps to implement ChatGPT in a crisis communication strategy
Incorporating ChatGPT in crisis communication strategy can help organisations to provide instant assistance, decrease response time, and minimise the impact of the crisis.
The first step is to integrate into a crisis communications plan the potential situations that could require such intervention. After identifying these crisis scenarios, an organisation needs to set up a dedicated ChatGPT system to provide reliable and safe support for its stakeholders. Obviously, this depends on the type of organisation and the risk of potential crises it faces.
The next step is to train it accordingly and make a comprehensive knowledge base to prepare for handling various situations. It is trained on large datasets so it must be programmed to provide reliable and trustworthy information to stakeholders in challenging circumstances. It must also be trained on brand voice and style to ensure message consistency.
Finally, the organisation needs to thoroughly test the ChatGPT system before it being ready for deployment. Once the system is fully operational, every member of the team must be capable in using it.
Customisation ChatGPT responses to specific crisis situations
In times of crisis, people need accurate and concise information to help them make informed decisions quickly. Pre-programmed chatbots may not always be equipped to handle unexpected situations, which is where customisation comes into play. The ability to adapt to rapidly evolving circumstances is critical, particularly during natural disasters, pandemics, and other emergencies.
Customisation and tailoring ChatGPT responses to specific scenarios can ensure that people receive relevant and timely information. Tailoring conversational responses to match a person’s specific needs and concerns can also help build trust and strengthen the relationship between the user and the AI.
In sum, customisation and tailoring ChatGPT responses to specific crisis situations is essential for providing accurate, timely, and appropriate information in times of need.
Challenges and limitations of using ChatGPT in crisis situations
Although ChatGPT is beginning to impact how some aspects of the PR industry are done, it undoubtedly poses several challenges and limitations during crisis communications situations.
Firstly, the platform is a machine-based chatbot that uses artificial intelligence, which means that ChatGPT lacks contextual understanding and may not identify the nuances of a crisis situation.
Secondly, ChatGPT is programmed to respond based on the data it has been pre-fed. During a crisis, the data on which ChatGPT has been trained may no longer be relevant or may not be sufficient.
Thirdly, ChatGPT is built to function in a text-based format, making it less effective in crises where voice-based communication is needed, such as situations where individuals are unable to read or write.
These challenges and limitations suggest that ChatGPT will never replace human contact and real-time responses in crisis communication. However, it can still be a helpful tool in certain situations, providing quick response and support and offering information in areas with limited resources.
Getting started with ChatGPT in crisis communications
It’s important to approach using ChatGPT with a thorough plan including pre-crisis testing. One effective method of test and learn means starting with a pilot program. This allows for small-scale experimentation to see what works and what doesn’t work, and how capable the technology is.
During the pilot, it’s essential to keep track of how it performs and any unforeseen experiences you may have had. Once the pilot is complete, it’s crucial to thoroughly review the findings and assess what can be improved. This review process can help to fine-tune the technology and make it more effective for an actual crisis situation.
An important aspect of implementing a plan is to ensure ChatGPT is user-friendly and accessible to all the team. Providing adequate training and support can help ensure that everyone can benefit from the technology and use it effectively.
Regular testing and maintenance can help identify any glitches or issues before they become critical in a crisis.
Implementing ChatGPT for crisis situations requires careful planning, testing, and maintenance. By approaching it with a strategic mindset and considering the needs of all users, technology could be a valuable tool for managing and responding to crises.
It requires careful planning, an experimental mindset and an open mind but ChatGPT could be an extra pair of hands (or ten) in a time when you most need them.