This year has been challenging for everyone around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected not only our personal, but also our professional and business life. The way we used to live, work, and interact with our environment, has turned upside down. Repercussions can be felt everywhere. Therefore, having good crisis communication skills is essential in this challenging time.
As the world grapples to contain and bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have begun to reconsider their planning, and we currently see signs of a rebound in the digital world. For digital agencies, this likely means that your clients—who may have significantly reduced spend in their accounts or paused their campaigns entirely—should begin to think about ramping back up.
Know your business partners’ needs – Act proactively.
Your customers’ immediate needs should be a top priority. Consider what your customers could most need or use right now, whether it is relevant and timely information or a transformation on essential services or solutions. Make sure you are aware of their goals for this year and propose a plan/strategy together. Your clients need your input in their success plan and by getting involved with proactive communication and industry knowledge, you will be part of their big splash.
Implement Lean Thinking – Adapt.
During this time, your customers may not be able to interact with you as they normally do. It is important to show gratitude and understanding. Your communication should show customers that their support of the business is valued and appreciated. Where possible, the business should take action that demonstrates empathy and community spirit. Face-to-face discussions would be ideal, but right now, the next best feasible solution, is to have regular organised video calls with your client.
At customedialabs, during covid-19, we efficiently work business as usual. We communicate with our partners daily via Zoom and Microsoft Teams. We make sure we always have a weekly status call with them, and we share progress with the team, allowing them to be involved in the process and provide early – constructive feedback in real time. By applying the Agile/Scrum methodology in our projects, we have the ability to efficiently and effectively manage the workload and client expectations and turn demanding requests, in manageable deliverables.
Dealing with Uncertainty – Acknowledge & Drive.
It’s difficult to predict when things will get “back to normal”, in 2021. Businesses can’t always guarantee about timelines for reopening and/or ramping up services. To this end, communicating how you plan to continue serving your clients, while being well informative and transparent about any areas of uncertainty is an approach that your clients will appreciate and take into consideration. People are very understanding at this time, but the most important role you and your team can play is to be a reliable resource for customers.
Humanising Business Communication – Customised.
Don’t forget that everyone’s circumstances are slightly different when you build a communication strategy. We, at customedialabs, we have our standard operating procedures and working plans for projects, however, we understand that every team is unique. Therefore, we follow customised approach on each of our partners’ needs. This alternative is providing us all with exciting challenges to explore. We might be thrown into distance learning, dealing with lost income, supporting an essential worker, or understanding & taking care of sick family members. In order to have a thoughtful communication plan, we need to support our client’s individual needs.
The whole world is trying to adapt to a new temporary reality. The most important part of your role as a business professional is to support your clients and their team. Step up in a challenging crisis and lead by example for your team. Adjust your messaging and attitude to acknowledge the current climate and do what you can, to provide solutions that will help your clients right away. Be open and transparent about your own struggles and explain what you are doing to help others. These people and their team will remember how you responded to these challenging times, so keep your spirit up and put your best shelf forward.