Especially relevant if there are operational, service, production or logistic changes that are going to be different and if your business is mostly customer facing. How are you going to deal with servicing? Certainly best practice is to inform customers of how you'll do business in the short term – particularly during the COVID-19 virus situation.
Ensure your brand is an informer.
It's important to be in constant contact, either via regular E-news, statements and social media as well as instant communication like chatbots on your website. This will ensure your customers are well informed and can reach you to ask important questions around servicing, hours, products & sales, customer service without face to face or phone interaction.
Depending on what industry you are in, people are now having to re-think delivery and service alternatives to their business.
Some things some industries need to consider on are:
- If you’re providing seminars - what is your back up plan to deliver them effectively
- If you have sales teams - how you’ll get them to still sell in a non face to face environment
- If you’re in retail - can shoppers still purchase online, if they can’t come in store
- If you’re in medical - what are the approximate waiting times? Or new policies? Can patients just call or have a video conference if they are able to attend a consultation?
- If you’re a gym - what’s the appropriate detail and procedures when attending gyms and/or lifestyle centres like swimming pools?
- If you’re in hospitality - is there reduced hours of operation or do you have to close temporarily?
All of this has a knock on effect for staff and customers alike.
All communication will vary depending on your industry, how you deal with customers and suppliers daily, how your team interacts, how services are delivered, how products are handled and more...
So you need to be informing your customers daily or weekly, on day to day - for example;
- How meetings will be conducted - virtual or via phone
- What staff will be in the office or working from home, what alternatives are there
- What current staff availabilities are, if it all - have some taken forced leave or not.
- Who or what they need to do to reach out to for customer service. Such as phone, social media, chatbots etc
- Whats going to be be best form of communication or interaction in these trying times.
These are all things business owners need to think about, but more importantly inform their customers about urgently. Especially around availability, operating hours, procedures, systems methods of dealing in a virtual environment, and how day to day dealings may change.
Ideally inform customers as quick as possible. Don’t leave customers, suppliers, distributors in the dark. Even if it’s to inform customers that it’s still ‘business as usual’.
Remember it’s all about getting trusted information from a trusted source to your customers and suppliers. But also informing them of how ‘engagement’ may alter under these new circumstances.
Make sure its part of your comms plan for your brand for the days & weeks ahead. Remember some communication is better than none.