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As we all navigate through this uncertain time, getting your communications right has never been more important. It’s critical your customers, colleagues and suppliers understand what you are saying and why, and what, if anything, they need to do in response.
We’ve put together our simple top tips for getting and keeping your comms on track in these challenging times.
1. Be open and honest
Everyone just wants to know where they stand. They appreciate that sometimes (especially right now) you might not be able to offer the full product range or your usual 24/7 service, but they just need to know what you can offer. Being honest and transparent ensures that people can see the full picture and often means that they will give you the extra time, support or patience you need.
2. Listen to what you’re being asked
Your customers will tell you what they want to know, and they will ask you the questions that are keeping them up at night. Listen to them. Don’t try and deviate or share your latest sales messages. Listen and hear what they are asking you. This way you can ensure your communications are relevant, meaningful and aligned to what your customers want to know. And – it goes without saying – don’t ignore them, this will just upset them even more.
3. Speed and efficiency
Particularly in this uncertain and ever-changing time, speed is of the essence. By the time you have been briefed, drafted your work and sent it through the approval processes, the situation may well have developed and the status moved on. Therefore, we urge you to ensure there is a streamlined approach to approvals, and those who need to be involved are prioritising signing off content asap. You don’t want your hard work to go to waste and people need to be updated at the earliest possible time. With this in mind, ensure your messages are short and concise. Get to the point straight away. What is the message? What does it mean for your customers, your staff and your suppliers? Use language that’s clear and easy to understand. Bonus tip – date your content so people can easily see if its out of date or been superseded.
It’s important to ensure all of your messages are consistent – so wherever people are reading your updates, the message should be the same. Whether this is across social media, on your website or by email. Ensure all departments are aligned and updated with the latest messages.
5. Understand the emotions
Right now, we are all feeling a little (or a lot!) emotional. Whether it’s because they don’t know whether they have a job, whether they will be paid, how to juggle childcare and their jobs, or where to buy milk and toilet paper!. So understand these stress factors and empathise. Showing you understand it’s a scary time is ok and shows your brand is human. You can then show how you can help and what steps you are putting in place to support them.
6. Call to action
Do your customers need to do anything in response to what they’re being told? If so, tell them. Should they visit your website for more information? Who should they contact if they have any questions, and how can they do this?
7. Don’t go dark
Now is not the time to pull down the shutters and hide under your duvet for three months (even if you feel like it right now)! Sure, you may need to make some big changes with regards to keeping the business operational, but you need to maintain some level of communication throughout this period with your staff, with your suppliers and with your customers to keep you front of mind and stand you in the best possible position for making the most of an epic recovery.
8. Remain calm
It is a scary time right now, but don’t make any quick or rash decisions. Stop, breathe and take a step back. Take a moment to calmly reflect on what you need to prioritise and the message you want to send. With a fresh mindset and a cup of tea in hand, you can tackle this head on.
We understand that it’s a challenging time right now and we want to help. We are offering FREE comms advice to businesses that are being affected by COVID-19, to book our 15 minute consultation, please visit: www.adpr.co.uk/blog/covid-19-free-comms-advice-to-businesses/
Communication is critical to your business success, but it needs a plan and strategy to be effective. If your business needs some help, see what we can offer you by checking out our affordable Confident Communication Planning Package.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking a crisis won’t happen to your business. You are just one click away from giving yourself long term peace of mind with our Crisis Management Success service. We promise it will be worth it!
The Department of Commerce states that 70% of smaller companies go out of business within just one year of experiencing a crisis – we think this is enough of a reason to be prepared! Our Crisis PR 101 guide will give you the tools you need to develop a crisis plan that will protect your business when a crisis strikes. As well as the guide you’ll get top tips from experts to give you more support in building a futureproof plan for your business.