In a crisis like the current pandemic, it is important that you communicate clearly and regularly with your staff and customers. Prepare a communication plan to inform your employees and customers about your safety protocols and any changes to services. You need to let them know that you’re doing your best as you navigate the uncertain path ahead.
Small businesses may not have a communications department. This is why we’ve put together some communication best practices for you to follow:
What to communicate to employees
Your internal communication plan should educate your staff about the latest health and safety guidelines issued by the government.
- Outline the health and safety measures you are putting in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. You could prepare and circulate a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document on common queries your staff may have. Reassuring your staff that you are making the workplace as safe as possible would help reduce anxiety about returning to work.
- Communicate your return to work plan to your staff. Set a time frame and be clear on which teams will be recalled first, if you are taking a phased approach to reopening. Make sure you provide online health and safety training to your staff before you recall them.
- Discuss any health and safety or commuting concerns your employees may have about returning to work. Set a system in place to receive feedback on the proposed changes and measures. Let your staff know of the benefits and resources available to them. For example, the employee assistance program and other mental health resources. Your staff should also know how to respond if they experience COVID-19 symptoms.
- Keep your employees posted on the impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on your operations, services and revenues. Share with them the challenges you currently are or you’ll be facing going forward and how you plan to respond. Doing so will give them a realistic picture of what lies ahead and prepare for it accordingly.
- Conduct employee surveys via email to gauge the mood about returning to work. You may have to take into account the unique circumstances of your employees and think of solutions. For example, some people may find it hard to return to work without childcare support. While others may be reluctant as they fall into the high-risk category.
- Prepare a welcome kit for your staff when they return to work. It could include a face mask, hand sanitizer, reading material and posters on safety guidelines to follow in the workplace.
What to communicate to clients
You customers may have concerns and questions about your services and safety policies. You should stay connected with them through emails, newsletters and your social media channels.
- Try to strike a balance when it comes to communicating with your clients. Communicate essential information and avoid flooding their inbox and/or news feeds with platitudes. Your content should be truthful, empathetic and to the point. Think like your customers when you share information and updates. What would they want to know? What concerns they may have about your services?
- Depending on your business (a retail store, salon or eatery), inform your clients of the appropriate safety and sanitizing measures you’ve put in place. This will make them feel confident about using your services.
- Keep your customers updated on your new operating hours, open locations, services, products, prices and contact information. We advise that you encourage customers to book appointments in advance.
- Your message tone should be on-brand. Let your customers know how much you value their patronage and what steps you are taking to offer the best and safest service to them.
- Update your website and social media with the latest information and changes. Interact with customers on social media and get feedback. Remember to be helpful, courteous and professional on social media at all times.
- It would be helpful to create a frequently asked questions document for your customers as well. Make sure it is visible on your website and shared on all your social media channels.
Do you need help creating a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your workplace?
For advice on health and safety policies during the pandemic, call an expert today: 1 (833) 247-3652.