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Communicating during Coronavirus – our guidance

  • 17th March 202017/03/20
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We know that the situation surrounding the Coronavirus is changing on a daily and even hourly basis. With that in mind it can be difficult to know what to say and when, fearing that you’ll say the wrong thing or that what you have said will quickly become outdated.

Be proactive

If you’ve not already communicated with customers and guests, then it’s time to start doing so now. Whilst you may not know what the situation is going to be in a week’s time, it’s reassuring for them to know where you stand at this point in time.

If you’re open for business let them know.

If you’re taking extra measures, let them know what those are and why.

Stay factual and honest.

Give plenty of updates as and when you can

As and when the situation changes, which inevitably it will, give them an update to ally their fears and concerns as soon as you are in a position to do so.

When this message comes out, ensure that it is the same on all platforms; Facebook, email and Twitter.

Be personal with your communication

Whilst it’s important to communicate through online channels, the more personal this experience is, the better the response will generally be. Whilst we understand that you can’t speak to absolutely every customer on the phone, consider prioritising those that have already booked and are due to stay with / or visit you first.

If you have a disgruntled email or someone requesting the return of a deposit, speak to them over the phone rather than by email to make sure you’re able to answer any questions / concerns they have.

Check your social media scheduling

Many businesses will schedule posts onto Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms. If you do, make sure you review what is currently scheduled in order to ensure that it is not jarring with the current situation.

When it comes to any potential controversy or insensitivity in wording / phrasing… ‘If in doubt, take it out.’

Social Media

As well as posting updates, there are a few things you’ll need to do when looking at your when it comes to your social media:

1. Make sure you’re on hand – many people will now go to your social media rather than your website for up to date information. A large part of this is the instant access they have to messenger on platforms such as Facebook. People are looking for information quickly, so ensure that someone is on hand to answer queries, even if this is for more hours in the day than usual. It can be prudent to give someone responsibility for this role.

2. Don’t be dragged into a debate – social media is notorious for conversation – in this case don’t allow yourself to be drawn into debate and provide them with a link to further information on your website.

On your website

Provide them with easy-to-access information on your current position surrounding the Corona Virus. If you are providing information, it is useful to indicate when the page was last updated in order for them to know when the information was relevant.

If you have urgent information then you may also want to consider having a popup which displays when someone arrives on site.

No matter the methodology on your particular site, ensure information is easy to find, clear and concise.

Review advertising spend

If you are currently running campaigns, such as boosted posts and Google AdWords, take a look at current traffic levels to your site and make a decision on whether this is providing you with a return during the most difficult times of development.

Be ready for the recovery

Whilst it may seem like a never-ending cycling of negative information at the moment, we will get through this and we will come back again. At that point, make sure that you’re ready to go and make the most of the return.

Some Useful links:

Coronavirus Government response Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. Find out the latest government advice and NHS guidance on how to protect yourself and others

FSB advice to small businesses Advice and guidance on reducing risks of disruption from the COVID-19 virus to you and your business

Coronavirus information for the public Find out the number of cases and risk level in the UK, what to do if you’re a returning traveller and what the government is doing about the virus

Coronavirus guidance to employers and businesses This guidance will assist you In providing advice to your staff on COVID-19, how to help prevent the spread of respiratory infections, what to do if someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in business settings and actions to take if staff come into contact with someone who is self-isolating or is a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19

British Chamber of Commerce in China Coronavirus outbreak information page Information sourced and updated daily from UK and China government, news outlets, schools and businesses including useful information for UK nationals in China.

That’s our basic advice on communicating with your customers during the Coronavirus outbreak – to find out more and talk to us about how we can help you communicate better with your customers generally, give us a call on 01566 232323 or email hello@mihidigital.co.uk

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