You are currently viewing Can a Chatbot write a crisis plan?

Less than a month ago, OpenAI released ChatGPT, a powerful new chatbot that can communicate in plain English—or in any other language, for that matter! Whether this is a new sci-fi play-toy or an actual business tool is a fresh debate. But seemingly overnight, the chatbot has blurred the lines between how humans versus machines will function with each other in the future. And the future is seeming a lot closer than we might have imagined six weeks ago! 

OpenAI has already signaled it has an even more powerful generation of ChatGPT ready to make a debut any time now, and Wall Street is already valuing OpenAI with a net worth somewhere in the range of $30 billion. So, the broader usage of this technology is no longer a matter of “what if” or “how” but “when.”   

ChatGPT is being played with, tested, given assignments, and getting reviewed for its ability to do chores–specifically writing or graphic-design chores—that usually are completed by humans. So far, the results in some cases are extraordinarily powerful. The OpenAI platform can quickly and accurately generate written content which saves time and conserves resources, allowing human partners to move on to other tasks. And much more.

So, we decided to ask ChatGPT to perform a communications task: Please explain how a strategic plan that includes issues management and crisis communications is of greater value to an organization than just reacting to the crisis as it happens. 1000 words.

The results are in: The chatbot did a very credible job of quickly assembling a 1,000-word “essay” on the subject, but we’d arm-wrestle it over the usefulness of its “advice.” Our human response to the chatbot response is written in red. Read on:

Here’s AI’s answer: 

Having a strategic plan in place that includes issues management and crisis communications can be of greater value to an organization than simply reacting to a crisis as it happens for several reasons.

Chatbot simply restates the assignment…..

First, a strategic plan allows an organization to proactively address potential issues and be prepared for a crisis. By identifying and prioritizing potential risks and challenges, an organization can develop strategies to mitigate or prevent these issues from occurring. This can help to minimize the impact of the crisis on the organization, its stakeholders, and its reputation.

While this is true, it’s still just expository filler…

For example, if an organization is aware of the potential for a product recall due to a manufacturing defect, it can proactively develop a plan to recall the product and communicate with customers before the crisis occurs. This can help to reduce the potential negative impact on the organization’s reputation and minimize the financial impact of the recall.

True, again, but the bot’s essay offers no real step-by-step procedure for managing a crisis response, doesn’t stress the need for a Crisis Team, and fails to advise on response protocols a crisis communications expert would recommend in the planning stage.

On the other hand, if the organization simply reacts to the crisis as it happens, it may not have the necessary systems in place to effectively manage the situation, which can lead to a more chaotic response and potentially greater damage to the organization’s reputation and financial stability.

Again, blah…blah…blah

Second, a strategic plan helps to build trust with stakeholders. By demonstrating that the organization is proactive in addressing potential problems and is prepared to handle difficult situations, stakeholders are more likely to have confidence in the organization’s ability to manage crises and make informed decisions. This can be especially important in today’s fast-paced, interconnected world, where the impact of a crisis can be magnified through social media and other forms of online communication.

Not sure which “stakeholders” the bot is referring to since most strategic crisis planning would be strictly internal, so stakeholders outside the immediate corporate team would not be able to assess the company’s level of preparedness.   

For example, if an organization has a well-developed issues management and crisis communications plan in place, stakeholders are more likely to trust the organization’s messaging during a crisis and less likely to turn to social media or other sources of information that may not be accurate or reliable. This can help to minimize the potential negative impact of the crisis on the organization’s reputation and maintain the trust of stakeholders.

This is simply naïve advice. In today’s world, every crisis has the potential to go immediately public via social media and other web-based media. You need to plan for it since it’s unavoidable.

Third, a strategic plan allows an organization to effectively communicate with stakeholders during a crisis. By having a plan in place that outlines the key messages and channels for communication, the organization can ensure that it is providing accurate and timely information to stakeholders. This can help to minimize confusion and miscommunication during a crisis, which can further damage the organization’s reputation.

Same messages here from above. The bot seems to be confusing Risk Management with Crisis Management. Risk management can identify, assess and mitigate any activity that can cause harm to a business. Crisis management responds to, manages, and recovers from unforeseen events. 

For example, if an organization has a plan in place that outlines the steps it will take to communicate with stakeholders during a crisis, it can quickly and effectively disseminate information to employees, customers, and other stakeholders. This can help to reduce uncertainty and maintain trust in the organization during a difficult time.

While this is generally true, there’s nothing here about how to cascade messages to employees and external stakeholders, how to deal with the media, and how to assess the importance of timing.    

Overall, a strategic plan that includes issues management and crisis communications is of greater value to an organization than simply reacting to a crisis as it happens because it allows the organization to be proactive in addressing potential issues, build trust with stakeholders, and effectively communicate during a crisis. This can help to minimize the impact of the crisis on the organization, its stakeholders, and its reputation, and ensure that the organization is able to effectively manage the situation and emerge from the crisis in a stronger position.

In sum, the chatbot was able to deliver some very general information about the importance of including issues management and crisis communications in a strategic plan. What it generated was nonspecific and elementary–it’s a sort of nonsense that sounds convincing.  The potential implications of bot-based strategic planning in the future may be huge–we’ll see. But for now, it is very adept at explaining rather than recommending–luckily, that’s what we humans do!

Jeff Tucker is the founder of Tucker/Hall. He is an accredited crisis communications specialist. He specializes in high-profile crises—crisis communications strategies, litigation support in criminal and civil matters, complex corporate matters such as whistle-blowing, white-collar crime, and state and federal investigations (EEOC, Justice Department, U.S. Senate, etc.) In addition, he serves clients in the areas of corporate reputation management and high-profile media relations.

Does your organization need a crisis plan? Let us help—reach out directly to Theresa Collington, Vice President, at tcollington@tuckerhall.com.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail