As business owners, I am sure many of you feel like you are in uncharted territory. We experiencing unprecedented disruptions in all aspects of our lives. Businesses and their leaders are focusing on continuing operations, while keeping their employees and customers safe. Owners are looking for ways to make sure their company stays financially healthy, and they’re identifying tools and resources while they create a Plan A, a Plan B, and a Plan C. Then as people, we worry about our families and keeping them safe and healthy. We’re just trying to navigate our lives in this everchanging situation.
There is no simple playbook for managing all of this. We know that you may not be sure how and when to communicate with your customers but communication is key—now so more than ever. That’s why we’ve put together a list of communication tips for dealing with coronavirus.
Send the Right Message
Many businesses in our industry are still able to operate under the essential category, putting our industry in a unique position. Many of your customers may not know that Green Industry businesses, in most states, are considered essential. Local governments consider our industry essential for a variety of reasons but most often is because they are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences and businesses.
When communicating with customers, its important that you share that your business has been deemed essential by the state/local government and why your business continues to operate. Give examples that will resonate with them. For example, if you are communicating with residential customers, talk about service from a safety standpoint, focus on property maintenance or mosquito and tick control. This will help establish why your services are critically important during this time.
When creating the communications, avoid using words that can trigger fear such as “deadly” or “catastrophic”. This will just fuel panic. Think about the images that you are using in communications. Are you using photos of people in masks or images of the virus? Or are you using images of people practicing safe hygiene or social distancing? Make sure to use images that create confidence, not fear.
Finally, make sure your website and Google My Business listings are up-to-date with current hours and other changes. This will help to make sure that messaging is consistent across all channels.
In the communication, discuss the processes that you have implemented to keep your customers and employees safe. Is that moving away from in-person meetings with customers? Is that an updated sanitizing schedule? Keeping crew teams together? Are your employees driving their personal vehicles to jobsites? Is it smaller teams? Paid sick leave? Whatever your new procedures are, be sure to share those with your customers.
As we all strive to showcase our businesses in a responsible light, now is the time to make sure that our communications provide usable and factual messages. This will help create confidence and trust from your customers.
Changes in Operations
Have schedules changes? Do you have new services? Have you suspended new installations? Now is the time to let your customers know about any changes that may impact their service. Customers want to know how this virus is affecting your operations and workplace. They want to know what you’re doing and what they can expect from you. Be honest if there will be delays or changes in their service. This will set their expectations and keep them confident in your business.
Technology and Virtual Communications
Now more than ever, your customers will be interested in technology that allows for no or minimal contact. Whether that’s WIFI controllers, remote shutoff valves, or video conferencing—now is the time to look toward technology to level the playing field. Customers will be acutely interested in this technology, so now is the time to focus on it.
Are you able to replicate a physical experience online? Can you use Google Maps to quote a job? Or can you schedule a video conference with a customer to troubleshoot a problem and answer any questions they may have. Now is the time to embrace technology to interact and consult with your customers in a meaningful one-on-one communication (without being in the same room as them).
Talk About What’s Important to You
Customers appreciate a business that has values and now is the time to talk about what is important to you and your business. Whether that is ensuring financial stability and safety for your employees, a focus on supporting the Green Industry, or a charity in need during this time—when you talk about what is important to you, it will resonate with your customers and show the personality of your business.
Finally, let them know that your committed to them and their safety, and that we’re all in this together.