As a result of the global pandemic, many businesses have had to re-evaluate how to effectively communicate both internally and externally during a state of emergency. Having the proper tools to connect with employees, customers, and the community is crucial to maintaining a sustainable, ethical, and successful business.

Here are five tips to consider for your business when preparing for communicating in a crisis:

Communicate with employees. Start by prioritizing your employees and understanding their needs and concerns. It’s important that your employees feel informed, safe and ready to continue working, both on or off-site. Maintain open communication and ensure employees have ongoing support. Send regular updates on health or other policies, government guidelines, as well as company policies and operations. Effective communication is fundamental in building a culture of trust between employees and employers.

Connect with customers. Your customers want to hear from you first. Customers want to know how you’re proactively working to navigate through these challenging times and are addressing the situation. Provide regular updates on the latest impacts and changes to your business. Show customers how you plan to overcome these challenges to better serve them. By doing so you start to build a foundation of transparency and empathy, both of which are fundamental to preserving customer relationships.

Be transparent. Transparency builds trust and conveys respect. By demonstrating this in business, you hold yourself accountable and create a culture where people want to work with and support you. During times of uncertainty people tend to trust businesses that show compassion and openness in their communication. Responding quickly to a situation with a holding statement can help prevent escalation. 

Stay active on digital and social media. Staying connected is more important than ever. With the drastic shift toward online channels, businesses have had to adapt and change the means through which they communicate. Email, social media, and SMS are just a few examples of channels that are used to stay connected. After establishing the appropriate channels for your business, consider the content you wish to share and the impact it will have on your organization, customers and the general public.

Develop a crisis communications plan. When faced with a crisis situation, the need to communicate is immediate. Having a crisis communications plan will help make this process easier for your team allowing you to respond promptly and effectively. A crisis communications plan determines common crisis scenarios and response strategies that will help prepare you for how to handle the situation. With a crisis communications plan, you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way.

We hope you find these tips helpful as you prepare for crisis response. If you have any questions or need assistance putting your crisis communications plan together, our team at Durrell Communications is happy to help! — visit our website for more. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.