Increasingly, the way electric and natural gas utilities communicate around storm events, pipeline leaks, and other crises affects their relationships with public officials and regulatory agencies. Developing restorative messaging that communicates safety messages quickly and effectively with the public during these types of disasters is critical to these relationships and to creating a safer community.
Last December, we wrote about our experience—in partnership with a large New York state utility—delivering restorative communication to at-risk third-party contractors in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and this post elaborates with quantitative insights.
Research demonstrates that recipients of safety-based restorative messaging are highly motivated to use the information to protect themselves and others, including their customers. Furthermore, crisis conditions and the media environment make them more receptive to the message. For example, the readership rate among recipients of restorative communications in the wake of Hurricane Sandy had a 45% improvement over the readership-rate of those who received safety communication in a normal working environment.
Based on our recent national survey of at-risk workers, described in the last blog, 79% of stakeholder workers will change their behavior on the job as a result of reading utility safety outreach messaging. When you combine this statistic with the increased readership rate of restorative messaging, it’s clear that strategic communication around storm events, pipeline leaks, and other crises is highly effective and critical to establishing A Culture of Prevention within the community.
Utilities can derive great value from restorative communication, which is demonstrated through prevention-based effectiveness metrics. In addition, given the pressures that most utilities face in today’s highly scrutinized regulatory environment, communication in the wake of catastrophic events needs to be considered as a critical part of every utility’s overall strategic public safety outreach plan.