We’ve had a few people that work in service businesses get in touch to ask: “Do I need to send out a covid-19 statement to my customers?”
Here’s our take on it…
It’s a challenging time for everyone at the moment so there’s a very fine line between being informative and seeming insensitive or opportunist. If you are preparing a statement, tread carefully!
Here’s some practical advice about how to approach a covid-19 / coronavirus statement:
Keep it Brief!
Get to the point very quickly. No one really cares what specific measures you have put in place to protect your workforce. Don’t write a three page essay outlining all of the steps you have taken. Acknowledging that you have put measures in place for the safety of your staff is, in most cases, enough.
Let your customers know the following:
- Which staff are and are not contactable
- How each member of staff can be contacted
- If there are any restrictions on your service level, i.e. are you operating a ‘skeleton’ staff, are there restrictions or extensions to your operating hours, are your services restricted for priority customers? Some companies are only offering services to essential sectors such as health and social care, retail and transport. Others are only offering services for customers on a certain SLA or subscription level.
Don’t be Afraid to Set Rules
If you are only servicing specific clients or you want to ask customers to be respectful of your teams’ safety then do so (with carefully chosen wording of course).
Be Selective About Who You Send the Statement to
Do not use a blanket approach. Be selective about who really needs to receive the communication. It is not appropriate to send the statement to everyone that you have ever done business with. Only send it to those customers that you class as ‘current’, i.e. those that you have been actively doing work for.
Ask yourself, will the recipient personally be affected by the changes to/continuity of your service right now? If they won’t be affected then they don’t need to know.
If you can, try to personalise each communication via an individual approach to each client, rather than sending a mass mail. This may not be feasible if you have many customers to reach, but if it is only a handful then we suggest sending each one individually. At least choose your top five or ten clients to contact individually.
What not to do
Everyone is stressed at the current situation and unless you have a service that is of significant value to the recipient right now then don’t try to sell anything. Very few companies or individuals will be looking to buy anything that isn’t essential right now. Your covid-19 statement certainly isn’t the place to try to sell in any case.
What to do Instead
If your own business has been impacted and you aren’t as busy, reach out to clients that are experiencing high demand and offer your assistance, if you have relevant skills that they can put to good use.
If you have something of value to offer that your clients can make use of now, why not offer it to them for free?
Your clients will appreciate these offers of assistance and will remember these goodwill gestures in the longer term.
Of course, there may be exceptions to all of this advice and it is generally aimed at service businesses (we don’t deal with product businesses so much) but if you need some (free) advice on this, please feel free to get in touch.