Mandates – or at the very least, strong recommendations – to stay at home have resulted in widespread financial losses. Now is not the time to close up shop when it comes to communication, however. Whether your organization is operating in a limited capacity or in a new way, it’s critically important to continue communicating with clients and prospects throughout the crisis and recovery period.
Communicate what you are doing to protect the health and safety of your employees and clients. If you have issued a work-from-home mandate, so that employees can more effectively practice social distancing, communicate that fact. If a bank or credit union switches to drive-thru service and ATMs only, they should shout it from the rooftops. If your organization normally conducts in-person meetings, find ways in which the interaction can stay personally via video conferencing.
While honesty and facts are an absolute must, remember that people are being inundated with sobering – and frankly, frightening – news every day when they turn on the TV or skim the latest headlines on Google, Twitter, or Facebook. Whenever possible, employ a positive, hopeful tone and seek to look beyond mere factual updates. Even if you don’t have anything new to report, keep the communication going. Engage with clients on social media. Provide them with tips on working from home, keeping their kids busy, or staying healthy when stressed out over the virus. Ask them to share stories and photos of what their families are doing with their extra time at home.
The coronavirus outbreak is a major disrupter to life and business. However, we must remember it is temporary. Given time and wise decisions by health officials, state and federal governments, this, too, will pass. In the meantime, continue to reach out to current and prospective clients. How you handle communications during this pivotal time will determine whether your organization survives or thrives in the aftermath of the pandemic. A measured, thoughtful, truthful, and considerate approach will pave the way for your brand to emerge stronger than ever.