Your business is your livelihood, so you protect it in a lot of ways. When you think about protecting your business, physical protection like a building and nonphysical protection like insurance probably come to mind. However, another important way to protect your business is with communication. When the unexpected occurs, crisis communication can help preserve your business in several ways:
Guard your community reputation
Perception is everything for local businesses. If your business is broken into and robbed, people may question how safe it is to come to your business. If a pipe bursts and floods your business, people may question your operations or the condition of your building.
Clearly communicating what happened, responding to it, and maintaining a positive image in the community are essential to the future of your business. Make sure your message is conveyed across all channels—online listings, social media pages, your website, and at your store.
Retain your customers
Maintaining a strong relationship with your customers is always important, but it is especially important in a time of crisis. Your customers need to know they can trust that your business will be available when you say it will.
Should a crisis occur, being proactive, clearly communicating with your customers, providing updates, and offering solutions can enhance your customer relationship, increase customer loyalty, and help retain your customer base.
Loyal customers pay attention to their favorite businesses in the news or through social media. Managing these communications about your business is key to staying relevant and connected with your customers.
Support employees and team morale
Uncertainty in a time of crisis is particularly hard on employees. They may have anxiety about whether they still have a job, if they will be paid while your business is closed, and what their future looks like. Lack of communication and inadequate information can make their anxiety worse.
Let your employees be a part of the solution. Meet with them, clearly articulate the situation, and make sure they know you are considering them in your plans. Losing good employees will only make the situation for your business more challenging.
Maintain business continuity
Business planning is always important, but it is critically important in the event of a crisis. It is a good idea to keep an up-to-date list of vendors, suppliers, and regular maintenance contractors at an off-site location in case you are unable to access your building and need to reach them. It could help you maintain positive relationships with your business contacts and avoid unnecessary frustrations.
When the unexpected occurs, being prepared is going to save you in a lot of ways. Planning is good for your livelihood and your business!