Communicating your new way of working
Account Manager at Shaw
In this new world of limited in-person interaction, communicating clearly with your customers is more important than ever. Whether your interactions are in person or online, being clear, open and getting the tone right are all critically important.
Your customers want to know what they can expect as your business reopens – or starts operating in person again – and with consumer confidence steadily rebounding (according to recent YouGov polling) that time will hopefully be very soon!
We’ve all had to discover new ways of working safely and it’s so important to make your customers feel safe and update them with your new precautions. To help you figure out the best way to share your ‘new way of working’ messages, we’ve pulled together some quick tips.
What do your customers want to hear?
Consider what reassurances regarding your COVID-19 safety plan you can offer. What are the key points you need to reiterate, and what are the steps you’ve taken that are unique to your business or sector? There may be industry standards that you’re obligated to follow, but don’t assume your customer knows what they are, so make sure you touch on those basics, and let people know if you’re going over and above those standards. Consider if sharing key actions is enough, or if your clients need more reassurances.
People by nature have a fear of the unknown and want to know what things will be like before they commit. Consider whether there are further steps you can take to set them at ease. Could you compile FAQs for your website? Could you make more staff available for customer service? Could you be actively tweeting to see if anyone has any questions? Or if you’re struggling to get into the headspace of a customer, find a friend who isn’t familiar with your business and get them to ‘user-test’ your current customer journey to see if they’d be reassured and if you’re answering the questions that they’d want to hear.
What do you want to say?
After reading all of the above, it maybe feels like there is an overwhelming amount to say. But for your main messaging, in a nutshell, you have to reassure your customers and make them feel safe enough to return to your business. They want to hear that you’ve thought things through and have the correct procedures in place. And they also want to know what their new customer journey will be and how it might differ to normal. They want to be able to confidently picture themselves at your business so make sure you what you’re saying lets them do that.
Getting the tone right
Tone is especially important as you have to strike the right balance between welcoming yet serious so that your customers can feel they trust you’ve taken all necessary precautions to keep them safe. Consider your brand and how you feel your business would best talk about and speak to clients about COVID-19 and your next steps.
I’m sure you’re thrilled to have re-opened, and I’m sure clients will be very excited to return – just make sure to consider the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential impact it may have had on some of your clients when crafting messaging that address it directly.
Graphics and infographics are a great way to quickly and succinctly convey important information. When you create infographics, you’re often forced to prioritise and shorten your messaging which means your customer sees the vital information immediately – avoiding lengthy, boring text that won’t be read. Big paragraphs of text can also cause a daunting info overload – whereas infographics break things down to bite-sized, manageable chunks. Adding them to the entrance of your business or sharing them on social media is a great opportunity to reconnect with your customer and set the tone of what they can expect from you when they return.
For more pointers on how to create successful infographics for you post lockdown communications – have a read of our blog ‘How to communicate through infographics’. It goes into more detail about all the things we’ve mentioned above, with some extra reminders about the importance of your brand identity.
When to communicate?
Communicate with your audience as soon as you know about your changes and new procedures and make sure the info is easily found for any future reference. Don’t leave it to individual customers to reach out and ask what your COVID-19 safety plan is – be proactive and get it out there. For every person that asks you about it, there will be many who have switched off already and have clicked on to a competitor’s website where the information is clearly displayed.
Back the digital communications up with physical ones too. Make sure your strategy has a presence when your customer arrives – with posters and signage upon arrival. Again, if you aren’t sure if your in-person customer experience is clear and reassuring, get a friend to test it, or ask early customers what they think and how it could be improved.
Digital is key at the moment as it’s contactless and lets you actively put your message to people before they make the decision to visit you. I think infographics are an incredibly versatile format for digital when they cover key safety points (with the perk of them also making great in person posters). Make sure you pin them on your Twitter/Facebook pages, or make them an Instagram stories highlight, so they’re always at the top of your page. If you’ve broken your key reopening strategy into six infographics but still feel you have more to say, maybe the solution is sharing photographs. The saying ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ is very true here, and pictures of your team cleaning, or a video walkthrough of your business allows your client to both picture themselves there and picture exactly what steps you’re taking without having to read a big paragraph of text. Consider if there are any ways to give digital a more human touch – for example, you could consider using customer’s names in any auto-generated visitor guidelines that you send out via email. It gives it a little more of a personal feel, if your in-person customer service is currently limited.
Physical communication is important too when your clients are at your business to reinforce the messages you’ve already put out there, and to reassure customers about what is happening.
Remember, there is no correct way to do any of this and every business will be different, with different expectations placed against them, and different problems to overcome. All the public is really seeking at the moment in reassurance, and to understand how you’re operating now. If they’re able to find that easily, if the information is clear, and if they then have no further questions, then you’ve done a great job.
If you’d like any help with preparing your new communications, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org