There is no precedent or playbook for COVID-19 and what we all are experiencing. However large the long-term impact or current uncertainty, the one thing that is certain is that we are in this together – as humans first, and business people second. In that spirit, we’d like to offer these thoughts to our friends and clients:
Do: Call and speak directly with your employees and customers. Project clarity and calmness, if only to acknowledge our mutual difficulties and uncertainties. Just asking about and listening to their well-being will help keep everyone sane in the short-term. In the long-term, it will help create commitment and trust.
Don’t: Avoid sending stealth marketing disguised as compassionate messaging. We’ve already seen a LOT of COVID-19 emails. Too many show poor timing, judgement and taste. Save the marketing dollars for when we emerge. First and foremost, tell customers what they need to know about doing business with you this week, this month, and beyond – are you reducing hours or services so your employees can stay safe? Make sure it’s posted on your web and social media presences, then consider emailing customers.
Do: Channel downtime into developing growth strategies and plans. Every force majeure, including recently Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Harvey, resulted in major transfers of wealth tied to recoveries. Some industries will rebound immediately, while others will be more gradual. Some less-stable companies will certainly become distressed.