Communication with customers is always important, especially during a time of crisis or uncertainty. You want your customers, clients and suppliers to trust you are taking action, have a plan and are being truthful.
Here’s five things to keep in mind:
Be Proactive. Don’t wait until they’re complaining – reach out to them first. Sending a note that says: “That shipment will be late, because of unavoidable supply chain problems” is better than waiting until they call to ask: “where’s my shipment?”
Issue a holding statement. If you’re holding an onsite meeting and aren’t sure yet if you should cancel, save everyone’s time by issuing a statement that says: “We’re monitoring the situation and will make a decision by Tuesday.” They’ll appreciate having a timeline.
Use all available tools. Don’t forget to update automatic email responses, voice mail messages, website banners and social media posts. That will cut down on the number of calls you get saying: “Are you still open?”
Directly ask for patience and understanding. Never underestimate the power of candor and appreciation. “I understand this is late and I appreciate your patience with us as we are working on reduced staff.” Most people will understand.
Do what you can and communicate what you do. Proactively mention any price adjustments or additional gestures you can make. And let them know what you’re doing to work around your challenges.
In a crisis, honesty, accountability and open communication will go a long way. The way a customer feels they are treated is often more important than the situation itself.
More Crisis Communications Tips