3 Steps to Calming Customers’ Concerns During a Crisis

I’m embarrassed to say it, but the McKeeman tribe is all about “open and honest”, so here it goes. Up until last week, I really didn’t have a grasp on what the Coronavirus was or the potential impact it could have on people, businesses and the world.

Ok, that was a dramatic reveal. But, as a former television news producer, it was my job, and my passion, to be an expert on these things – you know, the kind of things that could potentially doom the world. At one point in my life, I was an endless Encyclopedia on Ebola, the flu, nor’easters, gangs, skyrocketing gas prices – you name it, I knew it – and I could tease the heck out of it. They were all stories that I knew people would watch. Why? Fear. 

As we all know – fear of the unknown is a real thing. Right now, there are a lot of unknowns surrounding the Coronavirus. How serious could it really be? Could it impact my family? Can I catch it from the person in line next to me at the grocery store, the server at my favorite restaurant, the guy sitting next to me on the plane? Plus, it will likely take time for these fears to calm down, since it may be 2021 before we have an actual vaccine.

The good news – you can start taking your own steps to ease your customers’ fears in the wake of this crisis with three easy steps.

  • Acknowledge the issue.
    • Don’t ignore Coronavirus. OK, no one in your company has it or has come in contact with it, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t address the potential impact. Acknowledging that you have control over your business’ situation creates confidence for others, from your employees to your customers.
  • Take action.
    • Work with your leadership team and put together a plan focused on the preventative measures your team is taking to ease concerns about the virus. Ensure that that plan is shared by all within your organization’s four walls. They’ll be glad to know that they’re on a team that’s prepared for anything.
  • Communicate your action plan.
    • Don’t sit around and wait for someone to ask what you’re doing, communicate it. Your customers will be thankful that an issue that feels like taboo is being confronted, addressed and dealt with it. 
      • Here’s a great example of a restaurant in Wake County, where a Coronavirus patient actually visited. Instead of shying away from their action plan, the owner calmed the public’s fear by communicating the action plan step by step.

Every crisis is different, and will require a specific response. Acknowledgment, taking responsible action, and following through on action plans offers the most effective way to navigate a crisis. No one saw the Coronavirus coming – but that’s the world of a crisis. We can’t always see them, but we can be prepared for them, and sometimes avoid them altogether. McKeeman Communications recommends creating a crisis management plan and process that can be executed whenever necessary. 

Need help putting a plan together? McKeeman Communications offers a free 60 minute consultation that can help your company or organization explore crisis management techniques. Email us at info@mckeemanpr.com to get started.

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