In an extremely short time, COVID-19 has already had a massive impact on the way we live, communicate with each other, and work. We’re practicing social distancing and working remotely, canceling events and meetings, and looking for ways to minimize business disruption with no real indication of when things we’ll return to business as usual. What’s clear is there’s an extraordinary amount of uncertainty as to how the world will look when things subside, along with what the impact will be on our society and the economy. 

So what can we do in the meantime? First and foremost, we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and healthy, and we can stay connected. As to preserving the health of our business in this time, what’s certain is it will require new approaches, along with compassion, communication, transparency, and out-of-the-box thinking.  At Scalable Press, we’re dedicated to helping you stay as safe as possible, while keeping your business going. To help with those efforts, we’ve put together some ideas to consider as we adjust during this extraordinary time. 

Ramp up your communication

Your workforce and customers will expect a new level of closeness, more frequent communication, and a degree of assurance.

For employees, it’s important to maintain their trust in leadership, particularly as more news unfolds about the pandemic and health and economic fears worsen. Plan for more conference calls to discuss what’s happening in the business and how everyone is adjusting to the new circumstances. Keep the lines of communication open, honest, and broad. Send emails or post videos about your reasoning, intentions, and expectations. Be affirming and give your managers and their teams support, and make it easy for managers to know your thoughts and contribute their own. It’s also worthwhile to consider building some time to socialize at different points throughout the work day and week to keep your staff’s energy up and help them feel connected to each other and to the business.

For customers, it’s important to emphasize your commitment to health and safety first and business second. Consider using your site to post COVID-related updates and how your business is responding to the pandemic. This includes communicating the safety measures and precautions you’re taking to ensure your workforce and customers remain safe and healthy during this time. Anticipate that customers will have questions and concerns, so make sure your account managers and customer support teams are informed of your operating plans and available for real-time conversations.

As for outbound calls, this is a time to show your customers your compassion and willingness to help them along their journey and out of this challenging period. Your conversations should convey empathy and a commitment to helping them resolve pain points. Note that some customers may be encountering more stress than others, so be prepared for those discussions and offer solutions that can help them immediately. Most importantly, do not over-promise if you need to scale down. Your customers will adjust their expectations based on your messaging and, more than likely, appreciate your honesty.

Adjust your marketing messaging and tactics

Your outbound marketing strategy should be in alignment with your overall communication strategy. This means adapting marketing tactics and messaging to be timely, relevant, and most of all empathetic. If you haven’t already, take a moment to do an audit of what you have currently running or in your pipeline, and adapt your content to acknowledge the current climate.

Offer solutions to help your customers now, and be open and transparent about your own struggles and what you’re doing to help others. As most of us our isolated from each other, customers are looking for a human experience and a compassionate tone. Use this time tap in to your brand’s mission, values, purpose, and vision for inspiration and how that plays into the context of this crisis.

Lean into the human element with content that educates, entertains, or inspires. We’re all searching for that kind of content now and it helps everyone feel more connected. If you have campaigns that can’t be adapted, pause them so you can revisit them once the crisis is over. And crucially, cancel any campaigns that could be seen as tone-deaf in the face of what’s going on.

Prepare for the future

While we can’t speculate as to when the end of this quarantine will come, we do expect to emerge sometime this year. We encourage you to prepare for that transition thoughtfully and proactively. Even after the virus has been contained, it will take some time to return to business as usual for your workforce and your customers.

As you gradually welcome your employees back to the office, continue to prioritize creating a healthy workplace environment and promoting workforce well-being. Share the actions you’ve taken to ensure ongoing safety and hygiene, and work with your suppliers and distributors to put in place additional measures, if and when necessary. Also, be sure to communicate these actions with your customers.

Bear in mind that once we emerge from this pandemic, it’s possible there could be a revival of the virus, or other types of events that could have an impact on your business continuity. To mitigate any risks, it will be essential to carve out a business continuity plan, if you haven’t already, so that your organization is prepared for what might lie ahead. Here’s a helpful resource to get started.

Final thoughts

These are challenging times, and as a business leader, it can be difficult to make sense of what’s going on and translate that information to your workforce and customers. However, open, honest, and frequent communication in these times is absolutely essential, and it’s something both entities expect and need. Bear in mind your workforce and your customers will remember how you responded to this crisis, so it’s important to be understanding and empathetic, to prioritize the health and wellness above all, and to stay positive. Remember, we’re in this together. 

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