The COVID-19 crisis has impacted virtually every industry in the world. Businesses and consumers alike have had to adapt and overcome new and challenging limitations. Communication between businesses and customers has also had to evolve during such uncertain times. It takes careful thought and delicate execution to deploy the same messages you once fired off without a second thought. Business communication has always been more art than science, but with public safety on the line, it’s more important than ever to strike the right balance. To ensure your business communication during coronavirus is everything it should be, follow these principles:
Communicate Early and Often
COVID-19 has – at least temporarily – changed the way we perform even the most minor of tasks. We’re grocery shopping via app now, having virtual happy hours, ordering more take-out & delivery than ever, and generally leaving the house less. Just as our habits have evolved, so too should your business communication strategy. It’s never been more important to meet customers where they are.
No matter how the coronavirus has impacted your organization, it’s important to loop clients into changes early. If you’re changing your procedures or policies, you’ll want to share that information as soon as possible. While you don’t have to share your entire crisis management plan with the world, any client-facing changes must be publicized early. Even if you aren’t making many significant changes to the way you do business, it’s helpful to let customers know that you are conducting business as usual and they won’t have to experience any disruptions when it comes to your products or services. It can also be great to share messages of support. Let the public know that we’re all in this together. The message of solidarity can go far in retaining loyal customers.
Don’t just send out a single message, either. Emails go unread and social media posts get skimmed over. Now is not the time to assume your clients have kept up with your updates. Instead, send regular updates and informative reminders of any changes in your operating status. Just be careful not to overdo it!
Make Use of Multiple Channels of Communication
Chances are good that your organization already has a few preferred methods of communication. As social distancing measures continue, though, business communication via online platforms becomes even more important. Because your client base is likely still using the same social media, email, and mobile services they were before the outbreak (and perhaps even more so now), these remain the best methods of communication. Use social media to communicate regular updates and to check in with your community.
For more formal or personalized updates, turn to email and text message alerts. These are more likely to stand out than social media posts and can provide a greater sense of urgency for your clients to engage. Safe business communication best practices also require regular updates of your Google Business listings. If you’ve recently changed your hours, for instance, be sure the change is reflected in your public profiles.
Strike the Right Tone
Corporate messaging about COVID-19 has flooded the airwaves in recent months. It’s hard to turn on the television, radio, or navigate your favorite social media platform without seeing branded content about the virus. Your audience may be growing numb to the irrelevant messages and unnecessary posts about the coronavirus. To determine how you will communicate with your customers, first consider why you want to reach out in the first place.
If you’re hoping to share concern and empathy, do so with emotional honesty. Create statements that come with a commitment to help the world in some way. Update your clients on the ways you’re going above and beyond to limit the spread of COVID-19 and share your plans to focus on customer demands. Safe business communications should start with an acknowledgment that the world is changing rapidly and continue with the ways in which you’re evolving to meet these challenges.
Many businesses are struggling to stay afloat in the wake of COVID-19. If this is a reality your company is facing, sharing this hardship with your clients may not be your first instinct, but transparency is especially important right now. Explain the ways in which your customers can support you during this time, like buying gift cards and purchasing products online. Business communication during coronavirus is a delicate process, but there is no shame in sharing your struggles!
What Not to Say
It’s never a good idea to share your personal beliefs through official business communication. While you may have strong feelings about the state of the world right now, resist the urge to use your platform as a soapbox. Spreading rumors, gossip, and myths can be incredibly dangerous under normal circumstances. It’s downright irresponsible now.
It’s also not a good idea to share opening dates too soon. While you’re likely chomping at the bit to reopen, COVID-19 has proven to be incredibly unpredictable. What feels like a reasonable opening date now may ultimately change once you reach that point on the calendar. It’s hard to be patient, but resist the urge to publicize an opening date too early – you could find yourself eating your words sooner than you expect.
Leveraging Business Communication Solutions
The COVID-19 crisis may very well be a defining moment for your organization. If you’re not sure how to proceed during these challenging times, consider teaming up with a call center partner to assist in your efforts. MAP Communications offers business communication solutions that are flexible, affordable, and safe. Keep your clients in the loop while also ensuring the health and safety of your employees. Contact us today to let us know how we can help facilitate productive conversations with your audience.
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