There has been plenty of criticism in the media about lack of communication and clarity around the COVID-19 crisis and how this has and will continue to impact our economy. Customers are experiencing periods of uncertainty, with many businesses being forced to close doors or change their operations within days.
From a communications perspective, our approach has also transitioned to adapt to our ever-changing landscape. We’re helping our clients to manage their response to the crisis as they strive for resilience, while maintaining their presence in the market.
Customers rely on businesses during these tough times to deliver a sense of normalcy by remaining a trusted partner and provider of essential services or goods to keep us healthy and happy. To continue to do this, each business must have a stable yet fluid communication plan to ensure their key stakeholders are informed. Here are three tips to apply to your business’ communication program to provide your customers with value in a time where value is hard to find.
Transparency of your communication
Call it how it is. Businesses are being forced to make tough decisions and there is no way to sugar coat it. When communicating to your key stakeholders, keep to the facts and refer to resources that support your decision. While emotions run high, and it is important to be empathetic to your customers’ situations, it is critical to remain calm and factual to ensure messaging is clear. Keep the lines of communication open and provide contact details to direct further enquiry.
Providing step by step instructions will also be helpful to assist your customers in navigating new systems, processes or even communication methods. Consider adding an additional page or two to your website which might contain FAQs or company policies to reduce direct enquiries and provide up-to-date information.
Quantity of your communication
This is probably the most important thing you can do right now as a business – keep your communications flowing. Your customers are hungry for information about how they are / will be affected by changes you have implemented, often because of government directive.
In an environment where business decisions are being made almost daily, you need to reflect the mentality of being agile. An email or call once a fortnight isn’t going to suffice.
Some easy channels to get your message out to your customers:
MailChimp – It’s free to use for under 2,000 subscribers and great to distribute memos or eNewsletters quickly, while being able to monitor open or click-through rates.
Social media – Social media is one of the best channels to get your message out to the public. You can provide daily updates on business hours, operations and even marketing to keep customers engaged and informed. It also provides a direct line of communication to your customers where they can enquire, engage and consult.
Zoom – we may not be able to talk face-to-face at the moment, but we still can virtually! Zoom is a free video conferencing tool which allows you to schedule or host 40-minute calls. Create an account and share your personal meeting link – this way you can schedule regular video calls with customers that require a little extra TLC.
Community and your communication
Nurturing your community is now more important than ever, especially when so many people have been affected by unemployment and financial hardship. Think about how you as a business can actively engage with your local community and encourage a spending mentality. Money is tight – it is for everyone – but to keep the economy going we all need to play our part. Consider whether you can offer a discount or an incentive and how you can let your community know about it.
Times are tough and resources are scarce but we can support your businesses to keep thriving. Reach out to the Elevate team for a tailored communication program that will help keep your business afloat and connected with your customers.
Finally, it’s important to remember that this situation is temporary, so make sure you nurture your customers today, so they’re engaged when it’s back to ‘business as usual’.
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