How State and Local Government can Manage COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Communications


Are you staying ahead of the real-time news cycle? News, good or bad, real or false, can spread quickly, causing a domino effect of speculation, calls, and questions. Recent developments with the COVID-19/coronavirus has flooded state and local government with calls.

This unforeseen spike has been impossible to staff for. Many organizations have implemented messaging to quickly adapt to citizen’s demand for information. Quiq’s messaging platform, which can be up and running in less than 24 hours is already a proven solution for many.

Managing communication in a crisis can make all the difference between getting ahead of a situation and the situation getting ahead of you. In this post, we’ll cover the essentials of successful crisis management with examples of how organizations are proactively communicating coronavirus information. Learn how you can enable your team to manage real-time challenges presented by unforeseen circumstances.

Crisis-Ready Action Steps

The recent developments with the coronavirus have caused many organizations to be inundated with phone calls. With the CDC’s phone hold times approaching an hour or more, many are turning to their state, county, and local government for answers.

Regional agencies aren’t staffed for this influx of inquiries from citizens. Digital channels, like web chat and SMS/text messaging, are great options organizations can turn to help with critical communications. Because citizens prefer to use their mobile devices to get information, the ability to use web chat or text messaging gives them what they need.

  • Are you getting more calls than you can handle?
  • Are you struggling to provide timely and accurate information to your citizens?
  • Do you need to provide information during off hours, like evenings and weekends?

Now is the time to take advantage of bots and digital channels. Here’s how digital channels, like messaging and chat, enable organizations to activate successful crisis-ready communications.

1. Provide real-time, 24×7 updates to citizens

Chatbots are used in nearly every industry to help organizations become more efficient, providing a higher level of service with fewer resources.  Organizations all over the country that are being overwhelmed by calls are turning to bots to provide their constituents with real-time information. Bots can be used to quickly help constituents who may have questions that can be answered without a person, yet allowing the option to get to a human if needed. Quiq’s bot designer is so straightforward, non-technical employees can modify the bot in real-time.

2. Scale quickly

IVR menus can’t be updated frequently enough to keep up with the COVID-19 developments. Relying on IT resources to make quick-turn updates to your phone system is not possible and results in outdated or inaccurate information being shared. Why not get citizens off hold by updating your IVR to simply add the ability to leave a text message instead of staying on the line. Your employees can handle multiple text messaging conversations at one time versus one phone call at a time. This allows you to quickly scale and improve your level of service. And since people don’t always expect an immediate response on text, your team won’t have to respond right away allowing you to handle incoming surges in traffic.

3. Sending proactive communications 

Quiq’s messaging platform also allows organizations to send outbound, two-way conversational messages. Proactive, real-time updates from a credible source instills trust and credibility. If you have the need to broadly share information, consider using text messaging.

4. Deliver consistent and accurate information

Quiq’s messaging platform enables teams to save standard replies, called snippets, that can be easily shared with just a few keystrokes. This means that the same message can be consistently shared across multiple channels through snippets.  Updates and changes can be saved at an organization level and made available for the entire team to use.

Examples of Communicating Coronavirus Updates

Quiq’s COVID-19 / Coronavirus Bot

As stated above, chatbots have been implemented across a wide spectrum of companies to deflect calls and help people get answers quickly. Quiq recently created a coronavirus bot as an example of how city, county, state, and government at any level can easily create and offer an informational bot to citizens. Simply offer a chat bubble on your website or the option to text next to your phone number and citizens can help themselves to the ever-changing information.

The coronavirus bot is designed to provide mobile and online web visitors with up-to-date and accurate information regarding the disease. The bot can also present any specific information you need to share with your local constituents. The bot is available for you to use and can be easily customized.

Covid chat bot

City of Knoxville

The city of Knoxville has recently deployed Quiq’s technology to provide citizens with timely information on the US Census and the COVID-19/coronavirus. Anyone visiting the site can interact with the chatbot by clicking on the chat bubble.

Based on the option chosen, citizens are presented with various topics to choose from and relevant information to that topic. For example, visitors can choose to learn how the coronavirus spreads, how to protect themselves, and the symptoms and testing for the disease.

City of Knoxville managing covid19 coronavirus communications state and local government

The City of Knoxville now has the ability to share information directly from the Knox County Health Department. After the bot presents information, the topics are shown once again so citizens aren’t scrolling through the conversation to continue exploring topics. Once the conversation has ended, the visitor can choose to have a transcript of their conversation emailed to them.

Get Started with Messaging

While today’s environment has created a heightened sense of speed for two-way communications and transparency in a crisis, it has also provided the ability to communicate with constituents faster and more efficiently than ever before. With only a few simple edits to your website, you’ll be able to show the option to text next to your contact phone number.

Be prepared to communicate in this new digital landscape. Contact Quiq today to discuss how we can deploy messaging and bots within your organization.

See a Demo Today

Subscribe to our blog

Sign up for our tips and insights delivered right to your inbox, every week.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Learn how to use Meta’s channels to increase revenue.