Our inboxes and Instagram feeds have been inundated with COVID-19 messages from businesses over the last few weeks. As the situation continues to change and evolve, we encourage you to continue reaching out to customers and keep them informed of the changes to your business.
Although your headline message to a customer may change, here are six things to keep reinforcing.
1. How to contact you
This one may seem obvious, but with the closure of physical premises and changes in staff, some emails and phone numbers may no longer be in use. Provide customers with a range of alternative contacts if you can, including social media, telephone and email. Ensure your Google My Business listing, or equivalent, is updated regularly.
2. Your health and safety protocols
Customers want to know that their safety is important and the measures you are taking to keep them safe. Be succinct, clear and empathetic. Everyone is going through a tough time and it’s comforting for this to be acknowledged. If needed refer to official government advice.
3. Changes to operating hours
Customers are used to being able to contact businesses 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, due to social restrictions this has changed. Ensure your customers are kept informed about your operating hours and also any delays in the delivery of your services. Put messages on your on-hold messages, websites and social channels.
4. Changes to services
This is an important one. Be honest and upfront about your business’ ability to provide services to your customers, whether your customer-base has grown exponentially (banks, health services, community services) or your ability to operate has been hampered. Explaining why your company has changed, reduced services or has longer wait times is a good idea. Everyone is in the same boat at the moment but an explanation amplifies understanding and empathy.
We all heard the Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert say Centrelink’s website crash was because of a cyber attack when the true cause was an extreme increase in demand. Be honest to maintain brand credibility.
5. Show kindness and optimism
Simply wishing your customers safety and health in the coming months and expressing your hopes to be back to business again soon can leave people feeling more positive. Let your customers know how you can help or others in their community can help. All help is help no matter how big or small.
6. Where to find updates
Things are changing continuously, so let your customers know where they can find the latest information, and how you’ll be communicating with them and how often. Be clear and deliver on what you say even if it feels you have anything new to say.