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Communicating effectively with your customers during a crisis can be essential for their safety and the success of your business. Remaining open and honest yet informed and on-brand will help keep and build trust between your organization and the public. Still, there are some right and wrong ways to go about this new-found communication, and that’s where many small to mid-size businesses are struggling.
At Davant, we specialize in crafty messaging and clever signs to draw your audience in. Now, we’re here to help you craft the right message for your clients to keep them engaged with your brand during a crisis. If your current plan isn’t suiting your needs or you need to develop a crisis communication plan, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Four Tips to Communicate with Your Customers During a Crisis
Use Digital Platforms
COVID-19 has opened the eyes of many to the importance of having a digital platform. Whether it’s social media accounts, email marketing platforms, or a well-designed website, the internet is crucial now more than ever when it comes to communicating with customers. If digital messaging wasn’t part of your crisis management plan before the coronavirus pandemic, then it’s likely at the top of your plan now.
Digital platforms are saving many businesses, especially retailers, who previously lacked a strong presence online. Facebook and Instagram are especially useful, implementing features that included a whole new Facebook Store and shoppable product tags. Retailers can quickly upload their inventory and continue to supply the needs of their shoppers while sending out updated messages about their store hours, new safety precautions, and reopening dates.
Be Strategic in the Timing of Your Message
At the start of the pandemic, consumers found their inboxes flooded with messages and information about new updates, closures, and travel restrictions. When it comes to communicating with your customers during a crisis, it’s essential to keep the timing of your message in mind. If your brand has something important to say, you don’t want your email or message to get lost in the shuffle.
For example, not all of your customers will need to know how your business is handling the coronavirus internally, but they will likely want to know how your closure is affecting their orders or backorders. Sending out detailed emails or social media messages about why backorders have occurred and the timeframe in which you expect these orders to be fulfilled and shipped will help set your customers’ expectations for the rest of the crisis. Just make sure you keep them updated regularly through these same channels to avoid any confusion.
Being transparent with your consumers should always be part of your crisis management plan. Work with your management teams and executives to come up with the right message that is open, honest, and gives your clients a look into your company. If you’ve had an employee test positive for the virus, make sure you disclose this to your consumers and ensure them that you are taking every precaution necessary to provide a safe, clean, and friendly establishment.
If your company hasn’t been affected much, still try to be transparent, but then shift your messaging to include more resources, tips, and insight into how the industry is doing and how you expect your company to respond in the coming months. Transparency will also need to occur from within so that employees and management teams are all on the same page. This will prevent mixed messages from getting out about how your organization is handling the crisis.
Don’t Use a Crisis as a Marketing Opportunity
To avoid looking tone-deaf or out of touch with your customers, avoid the usual sales tactics and marketing strategies you would use under normal circumstances. Instead, show support, encouragement, and positive information and posts about your company or the community. While there’s nothing wrong with trying to profit during a crisis, there’s everything wrong with trying to profit from it, and your customers will pick up on your sales techniques, which will likely turn them away from your business altogether.
Try being more personable in your emails, and if you’re a small firm, reach out to your clients personally to check in with them and ask how they’re doing. You’d be surprised how much impact a simple “human” message can have, especially during a crisis.
Want to Put Print to Paper?
Communicating with your customers during a pandemic is hard. But now, things are reopening in Indianapolis, which means you’ll need to spread the word! Davant specializes in signage, printed materials, and apparel for all of your organizational needs. Visit our website and let us help you communicate with your customers!