In the Know: Communicating during a crisis

April 3, 2020 By    

In the Know is a monthly partnership between LP Gas and Propane Resources. Our focus this month is on managing a business during a crisis, addressed by supply expert Tony Botts.

Q: How should businesses handle operations during times of national crisis?

A: Crisis management can differ greatly from company to company, circumstance to circumstance.

However, multiple retailers and propane providers have already exhibited sound crisis management actions, especially with regard to customer communication, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Communication is your greatest friend and asset during times of crisis. Today, we have more avenues and channels to communicate with customers than ever before.

  • Update your website, even if it’s a link from your homepage to a landing page for customers to see an outline of your emergency or crisis response policy or procedures.
  • Take advantage of email campaign platforms and send frequent updates as new information becomes available. If you do not already collect your customers’ email addresses, make it a priority now.
  • Keep your social media platforms updated. If you have someone in the office with an eye for graphic design, create some templates that can be easily and readily modified as needed to post to social media.
  • You, your key staff members and stakeholders should develop and routinely update a crisis response plan or playbook. This plan should outline your company’s responses to specific events, identify the key spokesperson and define how you will communicate to your employees, customers, media and the community.

While working through the coronavirus situation, retailers have taken additional steps to ensure the safety of employees and customers. Many retailers have limited in-home customer services and even reduced the number of person-to-person contact points, including eliminating in-person transfer of tickets, statements or agreements.

Other retailers have adjusted their employees’ work schedules to help prevent direct contact among staff members. Many have taken steps to reduce in-office staff through remote work options.

While this crisis continues to play out, do not discount or underestimate the value of open and consistent communication, as well as common sense and proactive steps. When you attach positive sentiment to your brand, you become a trusted source of information in your community.

Tony Botts is a supply expert at Propane Resources. He can be reached at 913-262-8345.

This article is tagged with , and posted in COVID-19, Current Issue, Featured

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