How to communicate your plan to reopen your business
We’re about to turn an important page in the pandemic story. As COVID-19 cases peak and plateau across the U.S., the federal government has set a goal — start reopening the economy. Many states have begun planning how to slowly reopen their economies.
During a time of crisis, when you communicate with customers is as important as what you communicate.
This brings up some important questions: What exactly are the reopening plans in the states where your business operates, and how do they differ? What’s your business doing right now to prepare? Who are the audiences you must communicate your plans to, and when should you begin?
• Reach out regularly to employees, customers, vendors and community leaders to let them know your preliminary reopening plans. With the avalanche of negative pandemic news over many weeks, your audiences will be open to hearing positive news from you — no matter how general.
• Communicate detailed plans as soon as they are available to you.
• Be certain the detailed plans are posted to your employee intranet, facility bulletin boards, facility signage, and in regular employee communications tools such as newsletters, blogs, private social media groups, etc.
• Continue communicating safety measures your company has undertaken, and over communicate new policies and procedures you are putting in place.
• Continue updating internal audiences with pertinent safety and operational information shared by local and state health departments, and by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
What type of video content should you be creating?
• Frequently Asked Questions
• New safety policies/procedures
• Company updates
• Crowd/Customers in-store process
• Explanation of your reopening plan
Businesses will be expected to prioritize workplace safety for employees, customers, vendors and visitors. That’ll no doubt include rigorous, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Face masks may be the new normal for every company dress code. Social distancing will continue to be critical.
Be transparent with the safety and hygiene practices you’ve put in place to prevent contamination and keep customers safe. Emphasize the strict sanitary practices
Are you offering airtight packaging? Do you have contactless delivery and pickup options? What types of health practices are you obligating employees to follow? Be clear and don’t just tell customers hygiene is a priority—show them.
Keep content relevant for YOUR consumers
Customers want to know information about your business that pertains to them. Don’t go off in a tangent with politics, world news (and rumors). Keep it focused on your business and the community that you serve.
If your support team is overloaded, let customers know it may take more time than usual for you to respond. If you’re still open but with limited hours, make it well known on all your social accounts. Finally, let them know what you’re doing to keep them, your employees and the community safe.
We’re all still fully engaged fighting the invisible threat of COVID-19 on every level. Trying to keep ourselves from getting it. We’re trying to keep our families safe. And for companies deemed non-essential, we’re trying to conduct some semblance of business while kids, cats and dogs bomb our virtual team meetings.
Remember to be adaptable and emphatic. Customers and employees are looking to the government and businesses for guidance right now. Find ways of supporting your community and ask for their support in return as you start to reopen.
The best thing you can do is show your customers the humanity behind your brand, and that you’re in this together.