Bruce Cloud, Jr. dba CloudCrafts ... Established 1987

Communication with Clients & Employees During a Crisis

Lindsay Gilder (Thomas Industries) Apr 02, 2020

Have you noticed that since COVID-19 has continued spreading worldwide, your inbox has been flooded with emails from every company under the sun about the steps they're taking to keep their business running, help their customers, and take care of their employees? 

The recent onslaught of emails wasn't an accident. In an era of corporate social responsibility, it's vital to the success of a brand to address impactful current events and communicate how they're responding.

So how can your business address employees and customers in an era of social distancing with a personal message? Here are some methods to try to connect. 

1. Send an Email from the CEO/Upper Management

A classic approach, but nonetheless very effective. A letter from any one person at a company gives your message a more personal touch; instead of a message from an entire company to a personal inbox, it's more of a person-to-person interaction.

During sensitive times, people need to be assured that things will be okay, so it's important to keep your letter uplifting and positive, even under negative circumstances.

To the same degree, an effective letter will also be honest with recipients; people want to know what's really going on in the world around them, specifically with a company they may have previously done business with. Your letter should likely be delivered via email since the news is constantly changing and updating, so your letter will need to be timely with current events when sent out. 

2. Stay on Top of Your Social Media 

This tactic doesn't need to stand alone; it can be added on to an email campaign, blog post, or any other client or employee-facing interaction. Social media, especially Twitter, has become a way for individuals to interact directly with a company or person who would be otherwise unreachable. Utilize social media to address comments and concerns about your business, such as:

  • "What      precautions is your company taking to prevent the spread of      COVID-19?"
  • "Will existing orders be delayed or canceled      due to increased demand or supply chain issues?" 
  • "When      can I expect new stock of an item?"

Along with direct reach to your audience, social media communication can be viewed universally, so if you need to address an order issue with a client remember that everyone can see it. This can work in or against your favor; if the issue can be easily and politely resolved, do so publicly so the rest of your audience feels at ease with your response. If it's a more complicated issue, it might be a good idea to move the conversation to direct messages. 

3. Make Phone Calls to Key Players 

Of the three methods mentioned here, this one might seem like the most old-fashioned but is still effective for providing a personal touch. Phone calls will likely only work best with key players in your company, whether a member of your executive team or a selection of larger clients. 

For people who have much higher stakes during your crisis, having a one-on-one conversation is likely exactly what they need. Your announcement will probably come with a lot of questions, some of which may require immediate answers, so it's better to be able to address them on the spot to the best of your ability than let the issues fester into what could be a very bad public relations experience. 

Specifically for employees, they'll need additional reassurance that they're being considered during a crisis at the company. In a time of economic distress, giving employees relief of secure jobs and accommodations, like paid sick leave, will ensure that your corporate culture remains sound during difficult times. However, making individual calls to each of your employees may not be the most time effective, so consider a conference call with key employees who can ask their questions and help relay the message to the rest of your company as seamlessly as possible. 

Source: Thomas Insights — every day, we publish the latest news and analysis to keep our readers up to date on what’s happening in industry.

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