In challenging circumstances, it may be more difficult than usual for your business to support its employees and communicate with customers. However, in a crisis situation like this, communication strategies are more important than ever. Read on for five steps you can take today to adapt your business during COVID-19.
- Stay informed
Check sources like the WHO and CDC regularly to stay updated on the latest health and safety information regarding COVID-19. Be aware of any guidelines or restrictions relevant to your business and products. As the situation continues to develop, you may need to adapt your business operations. Keep your customers updated on what the spread of COVID-19 means specifically for your company and your customer relationships.
- Keep communication clear and transparent
Any communication with your customers about changes in policy or availability due to the coronavirus should be clear and easily accessible. Make sure to use appropriate channels for each specific message. Important or segment-specific announcements can be made over email, where they can reach customers directly or as needed, be sent to specific lists.
Use social channels to keep customers updated quickly and more frequently. Share authentic content, make announcements, encourage people to visit your website and show behind the scenes moments to engage your community.
- Product Availability
For retailers, be sure your item availability status is updated in as close to realtime as possible as consumer demand changes. This is especially important for products that are in high demand due to the outbreak, such as cleaning supplies. Clearly indicate the availability of each product, and if possible, provide a time window for waitlisted items.
- Create an FAQ list for coronavirus-specific questions
Assemble a list of questions your customers are likely to ask about your policies during this time. If you offer a subscription service, prepare a response for customers who may want to cancel or suspend their subscription. Be sure to include any changes you may need to make to your shipping and returns policies— you may consider extending your returns window or doubling your shipping timeframe to accommodate for a smaller staff or potential shipping delays. Try to keep these responses as adaptable and empathetic as possible.
- Increase your online selling presence
If your products or services can be bought or used online, consider strengthening your online presence. You may experience decreased in-store traffic that can affect your ability to sell goods. Create an online storefront to give customers another way to discover and purchase your products.
It can be challenging to conduct business as usual right now, but it’s important not to neglect your brand. Do what you can to provide consistent messaging and transparent communication during this time and once the situation has passed.