Many companies are now navigating a new reality, and it’s important to present a clear message to customers about how business may change and what your role is in preventing the virus’ spread, while assuring customers that you’re working hard to declare “business as usual” again soon.
Here are some important things to keep in mind when developing a communications strategy, and simple business changes can lead to some much-needed positive media attention.
1. When you communicate, add a carrot.
People are getting inundated with messages from companies about their responses to COVID-19, and many businesses’ best intentions are getting lost in the shuffle. If you choose to communicate with customers through the end of the month, focus on how you’re making their lives easier, through the expansion of delivery or pickup services or the temporary lifting of service charges. It’ll go a long way to engage customers, and lessen the risk that a frustrated customer will hit “unsubscribe.”
2. It’s a good time to talk about the good you’re doing.
Despite the heightened competition for customers’ eyes and ears, some companies are also finding it valuable to communicate what they’re doing to help other community members or businesses. For example, GrubHub announced on Monday (3/16) it will waive up to $100 million in concession fees for independent restaurants.
3. Avoid publicizing other announcements — for now.
Local and national media are heavily focused on coverage of COVID-19 and its impacts across the nation, and other news stories — however important — are getting far less attention than they would in any other time. It’s best to postpone unrelated announcements through at least the end of the month, so that they may have an opportunity to get the attention they deserve.
4. Make it easier to do no-contact business.
Many service businesses and retail establishments are already feeling the pain, but there are ways to keep business moving (and hopefully get the media’s attention for the adaptation.)
For restaurants, this means ensuring mobile pick-up stations are easy for customers to access, allowing customers the option to have their food left at their doorstep instead of greeting a delivery person. For retailers, this could mean offering curbside pickup or speedier delivery.
Appliance retailer Abt, for example, is starting curbside and same-day delivery to allow customers to make purchases easier, particularly those who are working from home and want to snag some new tech accessories.
Ensuring that all pickup and delivery services are running smoothly and allow your business to meet customers where they are will allow you to strengthen relationships through the crisis while continuing to capitalize on a trend away from in-store shopping and dining.
5. Get support when you need it.
Mekky Media Relations is happy to offer companies crisis communications support to help steer through this time. We’re also offering counsel across the board and stand ready to assist in any and every way we can.