They say communication is key. Living in such unprecedented times, this rings even more true. As our lives continue to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the need to convey empathy, trust and transparency is one of the most important things a business can do. Uncertainty causes fear – so the sooner you can address these uncertainties, the better. Even if the news is bad. Transparency garners trust and trust keeps consumer loyalty.
When communicating through a crisis with your audience, there are a few things that you have to keep in mind.
- Be accessible. Give your clients contact information and let them know that you’re available to answer their concerns.
- Be truthful. There’s no reason to beat around the bush, as it were. Be open and honest about the situation. People will respond better to specifics, rather than vague generalities, or worse, false information.
- Be empathetic. Communicate with the intention of assuaging the concerns of your customers. How does this affect them? What are you doing to help the situation? Try not to put the focus on your business.
- Do not take advantage. This is a time to help people, not sell to them. Offer services that benefit them, but don’t guilt or fear them into a purchase.
- Acknowledge uncertainty. No one knows what the future holds, but people like to know they are not alone. Don’t know when you’ll reopen? Say so. Don’t know when the supply chain will be back up? Call it out. Your customers/vendors will appreciate honesty (see above) and transparency. They may even see this as a way to get through this together.
Now that you know what to say, how do you communicate your message? This can depend on a number of things, including if you have a CRM to contact your current customers, where people look for information and how visible your message needs to be. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to the people around you. Chances are you know someone else in your industry with similar audiences. Mentors are extraordinarily useful during these times, as they’ve got the experience to guide you. You may also consider business consultants and crisis management planners.
Here are some common ways to get your message out to your audience.
- Email. Using email is a quick, cheap and effective way to reach your current clients, vendors and employees. It’s also a good way to give specifics about the situation. Especially if people are not looking for the information specifically, this is a good way to get in front of them.
- Website updates. Having a news notification or an announcement on your homepage can be very helpful. People are generally looking for information on the situation and it’s a great way to go in-depth and offer peace of mind.
- Website popups. Popup messages are a great way to get your message in the face of anyone on your site. Big and unable to be avoided. If you have something really important to say, say it here. Do not overuse though and keep it relevant.
- Update your business pages. Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If the information is important, such as business hour restrictions, update everywhere. Here is where new and current customers get their information. Use it wisely and remember, for every place you update, you must go back and adjust when needed.
Also, never forget the personalized touch of a phone call. Your most important customers and clients deserve one on one communication.
Are you ready to get communicating through a crisis? If you think any of these solutions could be of use to you and you need a little help implementing them, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ve helped several of our clients with website updates, pop-ups, newsletters, eblasts, social updates and more. We’ve even helped a few of our clients shift their focus on their business by creating webpages, ads and print collateral to communicate their new direction. We’d like to help you too. If you want to get on a call, even just to say hello and see how we’re handling things, we want to hear from you.