Communicating in a Crisis – The Right Way

You know what you cannot escape in a crisis? Information about the crisis! Am I right? Especially in today’s environment with the 24-hour news cycle, your brother-in-law who thinks he’s a virus doctor, everybody on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram with an opinion, and so on. The information is there. And it can certainly be overwhelming in some respects.

The last thing you want to be for your customers is another source of noise, another assault on their senses. [NOTE: That philosophy can be applied equally in times of crisis, uncertainty, surplus, and good times, alike.] You should avoid pushing your products and services every time you connect with a customer; your customers will begin to feel that and perhaps unconsciously associate you with only trying to sell to them, true or not.

Your outreaches to customers are to be POSITIVE and promote GROWTH in your relationship. Your name and logo should bring a smile to their face, whenever possible. And in thinking of how you can do that, I’m going to share with you my 4 Best Practices for Communicating with Customers (…I’m going to add ‘In A Crisis’, but these will also apply once we can stand less than six feet apart):

1.) Know your message first – Nobody wants to read your ramblings. A short and effective message should first be thought out, you should know what point you want to make, what idea or concept or position you want to communicate to your customers. Are you reassuring them of your ability to serve their needs?  Or are you giving them specific information on what you’re doing to help keep them safe ‘at a time like this’?

2.) Compassion versus Empathy – “Compassion is an emotional response to sympathy and creates a desire to help. Empathy is our feeling of awareness towards other people’s emotions and an attempt to understand how they feel.” (com) Writing with empathy tells the customer you’re with them, you are there for them, and that you’re ‘in this together’.

3.) Time still matters – Do you know anyone homeschooling, working from home, and keeping up a house at the same time? Are you doing all of that, yourself?  The clock still ticks with deadlines and meetings and the endless To Do list. Because we’re being pulled in more directions at the same time right now, there are potentially even fewer stolen moments in the day for your customer to devote time to your postcard or email. A quality check-in that keeps an eye on your customer’s clock (be it internal or physical) can do more than you might think.

4.) Remember it’s just business – You need to fill your sales funnel, keep customers interested in what you can do for them, and retain, retain, retain for the future. Your customers get enough crisis information they don’t want.  Keep your communications tied tightly to their well-being, the business you’re still in a great position to help them with, and use my 3-Zs (Zero, Zilch, Zip!) approach to passing along or implying any political influence or bias.

At some point, we’ll come down from DEFCON 1, the tremors from the 8.7 magnitude earthquake will subside, and we’ll pick up what’s left after the latest category 5 hurricane rolls through. If there is any stability you can project for your customers (and I don’t care if you have to fake it ’til you make it here), be that source of sunlight and positivity they want and need. We all get a little freaked out at times. Whatever you would tell yourself to feel better, do that for your customers…

As ‘Opposite Day’ as it sounds, you’re sitting at the starting line for some of the best opportunities you have to shine in the eyes of your customers. “I got you.”  “I’m here for you.”  “I know what you’re going through.”  “I want you to know you aren’t alone.”  Give Opportunity Knocks a call today.  We’ve got Success Coaches standing by ready to talk about how your campaign can be that bridge over troubled waters your customers are looking for.