Essentials of business communications. This is not a 101 course it is practical advise that will save your customers from wandering and create sales.
Communications a new skill relearned
Rarely has communications been so evident than through to COVID-19 crisis. World leaders have taken the stage and have been judged on their performance of telling the story.
Some have made it, some have flunked it and most took the middle ground.
Trump has been widely criticized for his misguided attempts at forever shifting all the goal posts. however many of the Women have fared a lot better. Jacinta Ardern from New Zealand won a lot of acclaim for her “go hard go early” campaign and likewise Angely Merkle for great control. Boris Johnson struggled and South Koreas Jeong Sun Kyeong become a whipping horse for errors.
In Sweden Stefan Lofven thought letting people die was a good choice where in Australia Scott Morrison had control as much as possible in a situation.
My take on Covid communications
It matters not whether you are reading this mid crisis or five years later, my point is that good communications is necessary however great skills make the day.
I will try not to be biased living in Australia but Morrison was front and centre every day. We turned on the TV for the daily run down and it was always telling you about life as it is. Yes,he had some conflict with state premiers bu mostly they sung from the same song book.
Compare this to the USA. I confess to have been a Trump supporter along the way but the handling of COVID has been an absolute train crash. No clear message, blame game, fighting with the States and Mayors and no clear and concerted instructions has led to rebellion with in the ranks.
The UK started badly and kept on going
The UK started badly, so badly that Boris Johnson the astute leader treated it as a joke. No worries he said, I shake hands with everyone. The result was Hospital and figures that were not all that bad. Except they were only reporting half the action. If you died in hospital you were counted but anywhere else was not in the numbers. This lack of communications created a false hope
Singapore became a joke. They went hard and fast and announced to the world results tat no one could match. Unfortunately they forgot about the million or so imported workers living in high density accommodation that proved a real under sight. Singapore quickly joined the high ranks of infection.
Good communications is the difference
I don't want to analyse all 98 world counties but have taken a few that have really tried to hide, or ignore. the true facts. There is an old saying that hiding from the truth only makes it worse. The truth will win and the responsible person is painted much worse.
France and Italy failed to act early and suffered catastrophic effects. This is also what is happening in South America where many leaders kept a blanket over their head and waited for it to pass. It did not and the results were terrible.
Communications, COVID-19 looking back
Look back and make a call
As i said as an Island Nation we had it easy in Australia. We did lock our borders and our states and all stayed at home where possible. Yes, there were conflicting opinions along the way but we were kept very well informed and that made the difference.
Being competitive to New Zealand it was interesting to see two models come up with similar results
however Jacinta Ardern was very much off the front foot and in control.
Taking communications local
Because I run a small business communications is very real to me. I do a twice weekly post on information during this time to keep my customers fully informed and constantly advise others to do the same.
Many others use the Government timing as an excuse and simply state we will return when allowed.Or perhaps when we choose
It is a problem working at home with COVID but with the cloud environment there is nothing you can't do and communications is one of them
Social media and Newsletter really help because they are cheap, quick and effective.
Communications, COVID-19 examples.
The Hairdresser dilemma
As social contact is not allowed in many cases hairdressers had to make choices.
One hairdresser a part of an International chain closed all stores and sent an email saying re-book when we are open. I believe, because my wife told me so, that she could not wait the eight weeks and had to find a substitute shop.
When the shops finally emailed to say we are open again the answer was too bad, I have moved on.
This was the same response from most of the clientele simply because they were treated badly. Not a personal mail, email or phone call of contact was done.
This business will suffer a huge loss of customers purely because of bad communications.
Doors open for urgent cases but all group sessions closed. A weekly email with exercise tips and the latest news in their industry. Good communications.
Coffee shop and Pizza restaurant.
Moved to takeaway coffee and emailed all contacts. Started baking bread, scones and cakes and attracted a huge audience, most often a 20 person queue.
Next door shop closed all together. Reopened without customers because no communications.
Main street Women's clothing.
Closed for two weeks at the height of the crisis but allowed private viewing and online sales. A constant stream of Facebook and Instagram posts kept all clients well aware.
Planned a quiet opening and posted a record sales day. Clients returned due to great communications.
Good and bad;
Two local fish and chip shops with only take away business.
One remained open. On Good Friday they had a 1/2 hour wait for orders with people lined down the street. The have continued to have favor with all locals returning several times.
Other closed for the month. it will take a long time for customers to return.
selling in a Pandemic
You can blame COVID-19 but were you partly at fault?
The above bad examples can take a lot of fault on their shoulders. They took an easy path and failed to consider alternatives.
I know many businesses that had great performances during a bad time. Mostly because they adapted to change however stayed within the rules.
Did you do Newsletters, emails and Social media to its fullest impact
Conclusion and communications wrap up
I stepped out of my normal zone to pen this post because I saw so many errors in communications.
Your clients will remain faithful if they understand what is happening. It is only with neglect that they hit the reject button.
This will continue on after Covid and during regular trading periods.
The major shopping stores will continue to email you every week with the latest special. They do this because they understand that consistent touch is necessary.
Your customers want the same. If you ignore them they will gradually drift away and your business will slowly die.Take note of the big groups and follow the examples set by them
The COVID -19 crisis has bought forward a real focus on the need for customer care. Take the warning and apply it every day.