It’s safe to say we’re all feeling unsettled at the moment. The response to the global spread of COVID-19 has implications beyond imagination: individuals, families, businesses of all sizes, and every industry sector are feeling the impact.

Keep people informed

While in some instances we’re powerless, from a business perspective there are initiatives we can implement for the best chance of coming out on the other side.

It’s vital to keep those that matter most to your business close and informed. This includes clients, customers, suppliers and staff.

Your business depends on them, so it’s important to keep communicating with them along the way so they understand what you’re doing to keep going. If you don’t, they’re likely to fill the void, and given the current mood they’ll fear the worst.

Actions to take

First, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who are your stakeholders?

  • staff
  • clients
  • customers
  • suppliers
  • bank
  • board
  • industry body
  • media
  • your local community
  • government

2. What are they most concerned about?

  • Their health?
  • Contracts?
  • Service continuity?
  • Delivery delays?
  • Product availability?
  • Your ability to pay?
  • Anything else?

3. How can you communicate frequently to address concerns and establish yourself as a trustworthy business in these uncertain times?

  • Tailor your communications to the different groups, so it relates directly to their concerns and ensure it’s always accurate.
  • Identify the best form of communication – phone calls, emails, EDM, dedicated web page, conference calls via Skype or Zoom, social media, video addresses, SMS or face to face (if still acceptable).

What’s important in your communications?

Be accessible

  • Avoid jargon, keep it simple and create ways people can talk to you quickly and easily – hotline number, chat room or dedicated email address.

Tone of voice

  • In your material be sensitive to heightened emotions and that we’re all less receptive to being ‘sold to’ at these times.
  • Instead, be open and transparent, caring, confident, consistently accurate and patient.

Other critical tools for your operational plan

Other tools that are also important to consider:

  • Issues management plan: What issues can you foresee, and how do you plan to manage them as proactively as possible?
  • Crisis response plan: If a crisis hits, how do you respond, who do you need to engage with first, who speaks on behalf of your business and what are the key points you need people to understand?
  • Staff communications plan: How do you engage with staff to keep morale up, share updates and offer support?
  • Media plan: What happens if a journalist takes an interest in your business during this time?
  • Post COVID-19: How are you placed for when you do come out on the other side? How do you plan to rebuild your business?

Considering these areas as part of your COVID-19 operational plan, to help manage the risks you face, will give you a foundation for success in the short and longer term.

Need help navigating this?

If you need help, communikate et al is here to assist. We’re experienced with crisis and issues management and stakeholder communications, in addition to strategic marketing and graphic design.

Call your key team member or email us: hello@communikate.net.au.