5 effective ways to implement an incident management process thumbnail image Published on 31st March 2023 by Gemma Harding

Regardless of size, all businesses should have an incident management process in place. It is these protocols that allow businesses to restore normal services, while at the same time minimising impact to customers and users, in the most efficient manner. 


However, what makes up these processes and how should businesses go about implementing their own plan? In this handy guide, we explain exactly what incident management is. We then provide a step-by-step explanation of how a typical incident management process works in action. Finally, this guide will outline how CALLCARE’s range of services can help implement your business’ incident management process. 


What is incident management?

Put simply, incident management refers to how a business reacts in the event of a crisis or emergency. An ‘incident’ in this context is any unplanned event that has the potential to disrupt any business service or workflow. Examples of such incidents include, but are not limited to, the following:


  • Service quality issues – events that disrupt or dilute the quality of a service you provide.
  • Service ability issues – events that disrupt or dilute the access to a service you provide. For example, a website outage or streaming service fault.
  • Product quality issues – events that lead to substandard/faulty products being produced. 
  • Reputational issues – events that lead to your business’ reputation coming under threat. Also known as PR incidents, this could come as a result of any other incident on this list being widely reported in public. 
  • Health and safety issues – events that threaten the health and safety of customers and/or employees.
  • Compliance issues – events that lead to a breach of industry regulation/law. This could impact either customers, employees or both. 


The purpose of incident management is to identify, analyse and resolve events that could otherwise lead to disrupted business operations. This is usually formalised as a series of steps known as an incident management process.


What are the 5 stages of the incident management process?


While different businesses each have industry-specific methods when it comes to incident management processes, as a rule, these plans are typically made up of five steps. Using a website outage as an example, these steps are: 


  • Identification

A potential incident is identified. This is usually through either user report or automatic fault detection. For example, a customer tries to access your business’ website to purchase a product, only to find the website is down. They might then report the issue through customer service channels. Alternatively, your business’ IT department may have software that flags the issue and reports it before a customer notices.


  • Categorisation

Once an incident has been identified it needs to be logged and categorised. This is an important step as it helps a business determine how serious an incident is and what the best way to solve the issue may be. Categorisation also allows businesses to find previous solutions to similar incidents that may have occurred in the past. 


For example, if your website is down, the identified incident may be categorised internally as ‘Website issue’. Straight away, this differentiates it from other types of incidents that fall into different categories. For example, ‘Service outage’, ‘Product fault’, or ‘Compliance breach’.


  • Prioritisation

The third stage of the incident management process is prioritisation. This is an important part of the process and will determine how effectively an incident is dealt with. 


Typically, when an incident occurs, more than one aspect of your business will be impacted. For example, say your business’ servers fall victim to a cyberattack and both your website and your employee’s internal systems go down. During this part of the process, you will need to decide what needs to be done and in what order. This is to say, should you prioritise getting your website back up and running to serve customers, or should repairing your internal systems so employees can work be a higher priority? 


As speed is key when it comes to incident management, as a rule you should look to resolve issues that can be fixed promptly and that have immediate impacts first. 


  • Response

Now that an incident has been categorised and prioritised, it’s time to formulate your business’ response. This is the most critical aspect of incident management and can involve a number of different departments dealing with a range of moving parts. 


The first thing you’ll need to do is contact the relevant teams in your business most equipped to deal with the issues at hand. For example, if your website is down, you may want to contact the IT department and/or any third party web developers/programmers your business uses. These are the individuals and teams most able to fix the technical issue. 


In this event, you may also want to contact your customer service team. This is because customers directly impacted by the website outage are likely to be getting in touch with complaints, queries and issues connected to the incident. Indeed, regardless of the incident category, it’s common to put an emergency customer service strategy in place to deal with customers and the public. 


  • Resolution and conclusion

Even once an incident is resolved, there is still work to be done. For example, regardless how large or small an incident, an event report should be completed upon resolution. This report should document the incident, looking at the strength and weaknesses of your response. When done well, an event report should enhance your business’ incident response process when/if similar events occur in the future.


As well as this post-response analysis, you should also monitor the effectiveness of your resolution and update relevant prevention measures going forward. For example, after fixing your website outage, you should ensure the fix is permanent and that new preventative measures are put in place off the back of the incident. Indeed, every incident can be seen as an opportunity to fix an unknown weakness the event has highlighted.  


How can CALLCARE help?


CALLCARE’s incident management services take the stress out of dealing with a business crisis. Going much deeper than basic call services solutions, our highly skilled operators have undergone specialist training in incident management to ensure your business’ customer service response is always pitch perfect. 

From the outset, we work closely with your team to create a tailored framework. Using this, our incident management operators provide the support and guidance needed to keep your customers happy, regardless of the incident specifics.