As we reinvent our businesses and navigate our new circumstances, there are certain things customers and employees will expect to see on our websites. Such messages should be informative and genuine. This type of communication presents an opportunity to show your company’s unique approach to current business challenges and employee rapport. It should reflect your brand and could easily be made appropriate for your social media channels. Since we are in for several more months of change, consider your COVID messaging as a series of informative internal and external updates that reflect your special business circumstances.
Start by acknowledging the COVID reality and provide a few details about how business operations are changing. Include information on the ways in which you are protecting your customers and employees. For example if you are working from home, working staggered shifts, or using special protective equipment. Set customer expectations about any changes in response times or whether any outside visits are being allowed in your offices. Identify what data sources you are monitoring for decision making. Set expectations for how frequently you plan to reassess current circumstances. Mention any ways in which your company is supporting local residents or businesses, and leverage pictures where it makes sense.
Consider spotlighting employees or partners as they are adapting to their new special circumstances. You can be a bit more playful conveying that you are still getting important work done while having a little fun in the process. For example, I’ve seen some really creative and fun backgrounds being used during video calls. This article summarizes free background options available for download that could be shared to inspire employees. I’ve also seen companies designing their own or sharing those that employees have created. Family pets are making appearances in video calls – especially those held after hours. Screen grabs of these would make great content for a company eNewsletter and/or your social media channels.
Tone and Support
As mentioned in the opening of this article, the tone of your communications should reflect your sensitivity, concern, and gratitude to customers and employees. These times provide an opportunity to show how resourceful you are. For example, employee and family care is important in this environment. I’ve been impressed by companies who provide resources and ideas. There are many free resources like the yoga videos of Adrienne Mishler. These are great short, free videos that are designed for specific issues like stress, change or an ailing body part. I’m also seeing companies reward employees with discounts on services that can make their lives a little more manageable. Think meal services like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh or gift cards toward home delivery of groceries. Mining other ideas from your own employees on the ways they are coping can be very powerful.
Every website should have a letter from the CEO. A video or audio component would make it even more effective and can be done with lower production value right from their desktop (see example). In this environment we are all working from our desktop so it’s a reflection of the times. Social media posts and/or email marketing can take the same message and make it relevant to different constituents. Echoing similar communication from your partners is a way of demonstrating your alignment and solidarity. Use customer testimonials to demonstrate success or adjustments you are making along the way.