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How to talk to customers in a crisis: five top tips

Not sure what to say when things start going awry?
Here are a few tips we’re using in the asabell team.

1. Why you need to say something

The most important thing in times of significant change or crisis is to keep talking to your customers. Most people are seeking security, reassurance and a glimmer of hope that things will return to normal soon. That’s something you can provide. Whether you’re continuing as business as usual, or hoping to be back up and running shortly, share that information and stay front of mind for customers.

2. Start with a personal message

If you have a few key clients, why not send them an email? If your customer base is much larger than that, social media could be the way to go. Either way, a personal, reassuring message letting them know how you and the team are adapting is a good way to stay in-touch. Customers can see right through companies that communicate using spin, so be honest, and explain where you’re at. (But watch your language, more on that below!)

3. Don’t overshare

While it’s important to keep your customers in the loop, don’t use your marketing as a space to vent. While it’s good to be honest, customers don’t need a blow-by-blow of everything you’re finding difficult, or to hear from you all the time (unless you’re updating them as a situation develops). Remember that your customers are potentially struggling too, so keep your communications regular without spamming, and stick to channels that are appropriate.

4. Stay calm and keep it consistent

This one’s probably a no-brainer, but it’s really important not to encourage panic or hysteria. Keep your messages calm and stick to the tone of voice you’ve already developed and are comfortable with. Like your tone of voice, the channels you use to communicate should also remain consistent — so that your customers know where to find you. Simple, subtle messaging often works; call a spade a spade but don’t feel the need to reiterate details of the crisis or situation if it’s already common knowledge.

5. Keep communication focused

As we’ve outlined, it’s important your messages are honest and calm, and a good way to achieve this is to try to focus on positive messages, solutions you can offer or important call to actions. For example, perhaps there are products and services you provide that will be important for people during the crisis or once it’s over. Or maybe you’ve weathered storms before and have some insights and wisdom to share with others about how your business coped and bounced back. If you have something that’s positive to share, do it — a little good news can go a long way!

If you want some help to get your messaging right during the current Coronavirus measures, and once things start getting back to normal, get in touch to discuss how we can help.

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