Checklist for Customer Communication when Re-Opening
The coronavirus pandemic is reshaping how customers and businesses interact, especially on digital platforms. Given the vast (and fast) changes taking place and the need for frequent, clear communications with customers, we put together a communications checklist to help you navigate the challenges.
Accelerate and Update Digital
- Ensure technology is robust, secure and able to handle higher volumes.
- Quickly identify opportunities to adjust or improve the online customer experience.
- Update / add FAQ pages on your website to address common questions and reduce strain on staff.
- Update event status to accurately reflect the current plan – for those you are attending or hosting. For events that have moved online, use “Virtual Location” as the location type.
- Consider implementing a Special Announcement on your home page for date-stamped text updates related to COVID-19 impacts.
Google My Business
- Take a moment and review your entire listing for completeness and accuracy.
- Update your listing to highlight how your business operations have changed during this time. Share information about any extra precautions your business is taking – or expecting of its customers.
- Add temporary / special hours to your listing.
- Set the “Temporary Closure” feature if a location will be temporarily closed for a week or longer.
- Use Google Posts as another way to inform customers of COVID-19-related information. Use CTAs such as “Learn More” to send customers to your website for more information or where to buy online.
- Don’t go silent. You may be struggling with radical changes, but don’t stop all postings. Communicate regularly and with empathy.
- Update your temporary hours on all platforms. Use the “About” description if necessary.
- Reference your COVID-19 web page on all platforms regularly.
- Be sure to pin / stick your current key messaging so it appears at the top your social media feed.
- Keep it relevant for customers.
- Keep your tone on-brand. Maintain professionalism with each post or interaction. Be helpful, constructive and courteous.
- Prepare to send out more email communications than normal, but only send when needed.
- Let customers know how and when you will be providing updates (“Our quarterly newsletter will now be weekly.”).
- If possible, segment your email list by geography if circumstances (and messaging) differ by location.
- Don’t feel the need to always be serious.
Redesign Key Customer Interaction Processes and Support
- Adjust policies and processes to support customers and employees.
- Actively communicate policy changes and how you will support customers.
- Consider outside review of new policies and procedures.
- Thoughtfully inject “wow” factors that will win customer loyalty in the long-term.
- Audit your marketing messaging and promotions. Review your active and planned campaigns and adjust the message / offer to match the current situation.
- Quickly gather customer feedback for key interactions to learn what’s effective.
- Empower front-line employees and teams to make rapid changes.
- Gather weekly employee feedback and make adjustments as needed.
- Engage with customers meaningfully and rethink the future.
Reconsider How to Communicate
- Brevity – Be short and to the point.
- Honest – Don’t pretend everything is normal. Address the issue head on.
- Clarity – What do you want customers to know? Lead with the facts.
- Calm – Stay centered, even in the face of criticism. Your calm will instill calm in your customers.
- Transparent – Be transparent with the safety and hygiene practices you’ve put in place to keep employees and customers safe.
- Perspective – Understand the perspective and expectations of your customers. What do they most need to know?
- Be Human – Be empathetic and sincere. Avoid jargon.
- Give Hope – People will remember how you made them feel, and giving hope in a crisis is a great way to create positive energy.
- Timely – Provide timely updates to your website and stay active on social media.
- Get Support – Consult with communication professionals for recommendations and to review communications.
If your business or organization is struggling and needs support with customer or employee communications our team is available to help on a temporary or long-term basis. Learn more about our services.