As the global pandemic Covid-19 has crumbled businesses, every company must choose effective crisis communication strategies to sail through. One needs to understand that both internal and external communication strategies are essential to respond to the global crisis. A general principle when dealing with a matter of public health and safety is to be proactive. You cannot escape from a global health crisis and therefore it’s essential to be prepared with effective crisis communication strategies. If you are still confused what to do, we are here to help you. Follow these five crisis communication steps and overcome the problems that are looming around you.
Build A Team For Centralised Communication
Decentralized communications are comprehensible and even favoured by large, complex organizations. But in an emergency or fast-moving situation, you need a crisis-response team. With the coronavirus, we are seeing this happening at all levels. These teams comprising of four to six people from corporate communications, HR department, and an expert in the area of concern should be responsible in managing crisis within the organization. The main job of the team should be to monitor the situation closely as it continues to evolve. They must be the main source of information about the crisis and provide regular updates to key constituencies. It is also essential for the team to be transparent, let them explain what they know and be succinct. Long messages written by health professionals or lawyers will not be read or easily understood.
Make Your Communication Clear and Crisp With The Employees
Employees are the backbone of a company. If they are not informed and aren’t aware of what the company is facing during the crisis of global pandemic, it will be very difficult for them to strategize their work. The company needs to demystify the situation for employees, put everyone’s mind at ease, and provide hope for the future. Researches have shown that leaders, in particular, have a special role reducing employee anxiety. To bridge the gap, the company needs to make the employees understand the advantages of work from home. Added to this, don’t forget to provide timely information rather than waiting until you know all of the answers. Post information regularly through email, WhatsApp group and Skype and keep them all motivated. This will help to overcome every hassle.
Make Sure To Communicate Regularly With Customers
Customers require a different approach than employees given that companies do not have the same access, nor frequency with this constituency. That’s why it is important to focus on what is important to the customer. One way is to provide relief whenever possible. For instance, JetBlue was the first-ever airline to cancel fees for coronavirus-related concerns. The move went a long way towards reassuring current customers as well as bringing new ones on board. You must also find other means to communicate with your instances. The best example can be taken from Johnson & Johnson who established a set of best practices for communicating in a crisis, including speaking early and directly addressing the consumers. Simultaneously, the company issued a national alert, telling people to stop consuming Tylenol products. It established a toll-free number for consumers to call with questions or concerns. Therefore, you have to understand that to retain your customers in future, you have to take a step forward in the present and provide them with facilities and compensations so that they develop a faith and trust in you.
Provide Assurance To Stakeholders
The epidemic has created intense volatility in the financial markets in the last two weeks and we are already in the recession period. With earnings season just around the corner, publicly listed companies have a special responsibility to communicate the impact of the virus on their operations. Be transparent in communicating near-term challenges. Make sure to use the crisis as an opportunity to reinforce the corporation’s long-term fundamentals and communicate what you are doing about the problem to all the external stakeholders.
Be Proactive With Communities
Lastly, it is also very important for organizations to do their best to make sure their actions do not negatively affect members of the community. Instead, during a crisis through effective communication, you can enhance relationships with the local communities in which you operate. Make sure to provide them with resources like cleaning supplies or food for those in quarantine. Don’t forget to provide information to the local media to help to calm the communities down, while also enhancing your organization’s credibility. Instead of going radio silent, be transparent in your work and deeds and stay positive.
We all know, it is a hard time. At this point, the leaders need to look at communication from the perspective of the audience. This requires companies to provide accurate information, communicate as much as possible and be vigilant about correcting mistakes without worrying about the repercussions. Let not the champions stop playing until they make it right.