Communicating During Crisis
How do we effectively communicate with customers amidst the COVID-19 crisis?
Obviously COVID-19 has shaken up the daily routine for employees and business leaders alike. While we do not want to belittle this situation and the fallout for Oregon businesses, we also don’t want to dwell on the challenges. It seems like we are all too familiar with the problems and dwelling on them can be overwhelming.
For some of us it is a waiting game, with projects or day to day work on hold. For others, the gears keep on turning with some safety adjustments. To be honest, our team is somewhere in the middle. Now that life has reached a level of predictability, many people are trying to decide how to move forward. Here is some practical and encouraging advice for communicating with your customers. Wherever you are at the moment, may this list be helpful to you as it was for our team.
Find Clarity in the Short Term
“What the heck is going on?” That question keeps coming around with the confusing and sometimes contradictory answers. Here is the good news, you can cut through the murkiness and stand out as a leader in crisis with crystal clear communication! This is the time to be honest and abundantly clear with your customers. If you haven’t answered these questions (or similar ones) then it’s time to get to it.
Are you still open?
How can we support your business right now?
Can your business still meet our needs while following health guidelines?
Cut to the Chase, Carefully
While honesty is needed now more than ever, take a moment to look through your marketing channels. Try to think like your customer and look at your social media, upcoming emails, and other promotions they will see. Customers are spending way more time on social media than usual, and your content may not have a fluent message as they scroll through material that took weeks to produce.
Look carefully through past content. Is there anything that is ill-timed or seems inappropriate now? Since COVID-19 has likely impacted your customers in very different ways, it may even be wise to bring in an extra pair of eyes. Ask a friend (or a few friends) outside of your business to give feedback on your wording. There may be something that you didn’t even notice.
Be Compelling - Show Behind the Scenes
Your customers may have a little more time on their hands. Or maybe a lot less time. Either way, the only way to get through to them is by being compelling. One of the best ways to get your customer’s attention is through video (which you are probably aware of).
Communicating during a crisis is not a new dilemma, but this particular crisis is incredibly personal. Have you noticed the increase in honest conversations through video? With your video delivery of choice you can show your customers behind the scenes and stay connected while apart. And as a bonus, the time you invest into video content will still be around when we come through the other side of this.
Plan for the Long Term
This may not be on your radar, and I would not blame you at all, but it’s time to think long-term. It isn’t easy to plan six months down the road when you don’t know what tomorrow holds, and you may or may not have toilet paper . But at some point in the future (hopefully much sooner rather than later) life will regain some sense of balance.
At that time, your customers will start to shop around again, and when that happens, you can be ready. If you haven’t evaluated your website and social media in a while, this is the unfortunate and golden opportunity to think about it. How can you more effectively and more memorably connect with your customers? Are there any skills your team can be developing right now that will benefit your brand down the road? When it comes to refreshing your website or building up your social media presence, there is always something new to explore.
If you would appreciate an extra set of eyes to look at your communication and marketing channels, we would love to help. For a review and recommendations on your marketing strategy, please leave us a message. If we can help you in any way at this time, we will try our best to!
For further resources on this topic, check out this Forbes article by Christine Moorman: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinemoorman/2020/03/30/making-the-most-of-your-marketing-team-during-covid-19/#765919a72321