What the world is going through right now on an unprecedented scale has put brands in a quandary. With businesses going remote, countries going under lockdown, and a lot of changes around, it's crucial for organizations to communicate with their stakeholders now more than ever. At the same time, communication becomes a double-edged sword in situations like these. What you say (the message), where you say it (the medium), and how you say it (the tone) will reflect on your brand for a long time to come.
That said, your website is the first source of information for your stakeholders, as that is where people come looking for information related to your brand. So, let's look at the most important updates you need to make on your website to keep stakeholders informed about your business in times of crisis.
Inform them about service interruptions
Your customer's trust is the bedrock on which your business is built. Nothing shakes that trust like a business that keeps them in the dark when things get ugly. So, regularly update your website's status page, acknowledging and informing your customers when there is a delay in your products/services or a service interruption. If things are normal, tell them that as well so they know they are in the right hands.
Set customer support expectations
At the end of the day, we are all humans and our struggles are real and the same during a pandemic like this. If you are in a travel or hotel business, you might have dealt with a barrage of messages in your live chat regarding cancellations and refunds. Since many businesses have gone remote, customer support representatives might have a hard time handling multiple chats. If you don't have the bandwidth to handle live chats, turn it off and direct people to contact you through email. It's even better if you can add a banner on the home page or FAQs page with steps for cancellations and a refund initiation process.
Communicate any changes in your business model
Selling or marketing too hard in the current scenario will come across as tone-deaf. However, business has to go on—not everything can come to a halt. Numerous brands have started offering their products and services for free to extend help to small business owners and people at home. If you are launching a similar initiative or slashing your prices, make sure to put it right there on your home page so it's easy for people to learn about.
Update people about your canceled events
With travel bans and border shutdowns, we know physical events are out of the equation now. If you have canceled your physical annual conference or community events, but are hosting them online, update your events page/blog to let people know they can still attend your events from the comfort of their homes. If you have completely canceled all events, add a message about it, disable tickets, remove details from different event hosting sites, and process refunds to your registrants.
Don't forget your out-of-stock automation
Now that people are tied to their homes, ecommerce businesses and home-delivery models will likely see a spike in sales. While you might have paused all your automation as the current situation demands a new strategy and messaging, there is one workflow you should not pause—inventory automation. If your product goes out-of-stock or you have temporarily stopped home delivery, put it in bold on your product pages. This way, you won't end up having a pile of orders you can't fulfil and your customers won't have to waste their time waiting for their orders. By doing this, you might miss a few sales now, but you will eventually earn the goodwill of people.
One important reminder from us: read the room, understand your customers, and be empathetic and thoughtful in your messaging. Your customers also deserve your guidance, reassurance, and support as much as your employees and family do.
We take this opportunity to thank all the doctors, nurses, and front line workers for helping millions of people during this situation.
Remember, we're all in this together. Stay safe, take care!