It’s a worrying time for businesses as the knock-on effects of the Covid-19 pandemic begin to take hold. Having an effective communications and PR strategy is essential in times of crisis.
So, Alex D Mason PR and I have put together our five top tips to help local businesses navigate their way through the situation from a communications point of view.
1. The number one rule is to always be honest. People understand that things are difficult at the moment because everyone is in the same boat, so don’t try to sugar-coat things and claim that everything is fine and it’s business as usual because odds on, it isn’t. The majority of businesses will have had to make at least some amendments to how they generally operate, and customers understand this.
2. Keep regular lines of communication open with your staff. Everyone is worried in these uncertain times. If you are a business owner or managing director, then you should be the one delivering messages to your team as its leader. If your team is working from home, try a video call rather than an email to stem feelings of isolation. Besides, people like hearing important news, good or bad, while looking at someone’s face rather than via an email, which can sometimes appear cold. We’re fortunate that even though many people are being asked to self-isolate, technology still allows us to speak face to face.
3. If you can’t get your usual stock or products/components that you need for your business, then be open and honest about it with your customers. Explain the situation and how you are adapting operations to mitigate the impact.
4. Keep in touch with other businesses, locally as well as ones that operate in your specific industry. This can be a great source of support in sharing best practice as we work our way through this crisis, as well as emotionally – running a business can be lonely!
5. This shouldn’t need saying but NEVER inflate prices to take advantage of a bad situation. Not only is it morally wrong, customers have long memories and if they see a business that is attempting to profit in times of crisis – by massively increasing the price of hand sanitiser for example – they are much less likely to be loyal to them when normality resumes.