What did your business do when you realized a COVID-19 crisis was imminent, and that its side effects would reach your organization? Whatever your response, communication was likely a key part of it.
Whether it was communicating with your leadership team, your employees, your customers, your bank or your accountant, your vendors and other partners – most decision-makers immediately recognized that obtaining and sharing information was critical to protecting the business and determining next steps.
But crises that stretch on for days, weeks or even months require continuing communication beyond that initial response, especially to customers who are facing a variety of uncertainties and anxieties in their own lives. In that scenario, the message means even more when it’s coming from a CEO, owner or other C-suite member – especially if it’s personalized to the recipient.
Whatever crisis communication strategies you have planned, make sure the information you’re sharing with customers covers these key messages:
#1 That you understand and care
It’s never more crucial for your communication to be authentic and sincere than during a crisis, when so many are faced with difficult circumstances. Recognize your customers’ pain points and concerns, and don’t be afraid to share your own. Making genuine connections with others is important during times like these; make sure you’re relatable. And most of all, make certain your audience knows that you care about them – not just as customers, but as people.
#2 What you’re doing right now
Customers need to know what your organization is doing to minimize the impact and overcome the challenges related to a crisis – whether it’s a global pandemic or more localized issue. Sharing this information inspires confidence in your business as a whole, while also letting customers know what disruptions they may experience. Providing a Frequently Asked Questions resource is a great way to get general information like this in your customers’ hands; you can check out a free FAQ template here.DOWNLOAD NOW
#3 How you’re going above and beyond
In one way or another, it’s doubtful that there’s any business sector that hasn’t felt some consequences of COVID-19. Amidst the service and supply disruptions, the production, transportation and workforce challenges, lay opportunities to showcase your company’s commitment and capabilities. Search for ways to better support your customers, whether it’s providing alternative products, creating or connecting them with free resources or taking customer service to a higher level. Then communicate those opportunities to customers to shine a positive light during a difficult time.
#4 How you’re looking to the future
Crisis communication isn’t just about the crisis itself. It’s also about setting your business up to rebound as quickly as possible after the crisis has passed. Make sure your message includes how your business is preparing for post-crisis, and how that can benefit and support your customers. Stay in touch with those customers who have had to put purchases or services on hold as well – it’ll increase your chances of getting them back after the crisis.
Remember Christina Aguilera singing “Say something I’m giving up on you”? Whatever you say, whatever platforms you distribute it through, make sure you’re communicating in some form to your customers. They need to hear from you right now.