Holly Duckworth, CAE, CMP, CSLP

By Holly Duckworth, CAE, CMP, CSLP

Is It Time For Your Company To Write the “COVID-19” response letter, now?

Is It Time For Your Company To Write the “COVID-19” response letter, now? 150 150 Holly Duckworth

Another day, another email.  Yes, an email from some well-meaning company about Coronavirus.  I’m averaging several company emails on this topic each day.  Most of them saying what has already been said.  Each organization trying to re-iterate information and protect their company from any concerns a customer may have.

It seems this virus, pandemic, disease is going to be with us for a while.  So how do you know if, or when your company should send such a letter.  Here are a few mindful considerations.

First, back up from the forest and look at the trees.  There is a deluge of information some factual others fictional circulating now. Each of these pieces of information or infotainment are seeds in our collective awareness either bringing peace or panic. Do you need to add a message to the forest or is your brand continuously delivering on a safe, healthy, brand promise that your customers would expect nothing less, therefore, making such a letter unnecessary.

Here are the questions you and your senior leadership should consider as you look at communications decisions relating to COVID-19.

  • Why do you need to connect with your customers? Have one clear intention when sending this type of mass email. If there is nothing more to say, say nothing.
  • How will the letter make your customer/reader feel about receiving the letter? Keep in mind your audience will have many varied perspectives on this topic set clear energetic tone with each word.
  • What will the letter say, that has not already been said? With your letter can you send a positive message vs. stir more uncertainty.

There is no one right or wrong answer here, and if you look at each of your personal and professional messages as seeds in the Universe. Are you continuing seeds of panic and chaos or seeds of ease and calm?  What each company thinks about we bring about. It’s time to bring more positivity to these letters to move us out of the panic.

If your organization chooses to send such a letter do the following:

  • Check, double-check and triple check the facts.
  • Cite your sources to a credible resource in the health/medical field or government agency.
  • Be personal about the letter addressing the customer by name and sign the letter by the appropriate person.

There is no doubt in a few months we will be looking back at this business situation and reflecting on lessons learned.  Don’t be a public relations casualty here advance good data, for the benefit of your customers with that personal touch authentic to your brand and your customers will reward you.

Here are a few quotes from the letters I have received and why I think they matter:

“We remain committed to upholding the highest standards of cleanliness and want you to feel at ease when you visit Hyatt hotels, knowing you’ll experience the quality you expect from the Hyatt brand.”  Mark Hoplamazian President & CEO, Hyatt Hotels

Calm customers down, assure brand loyal customers that they are on top of it.

“Rest assured, we are monitoring this developing situation closely, staying in regular contact with federal agencies, health organizations, and other experts. We’ve developed a host of resources to keep you informed and updated along the way, including our Travel Advisory on southwest.com and our Company blog, and we’ll continue to post updates as this situation evolves.”  Ryan Green
SVP & Chief Marketing Officer, Southwest Airlines

Connect customers to ongoing information from your company.

“You can expect to see staff cleaning frequently touched surfaces more often, including doorknobs, phones, handrails, and counters throughout all our facilities. Also, we will be limiting physical contact with each other and our members. Our typical greeting with a handshake will not be extended until the virus in under control, and the official recommendations are updated. Additionally, many of our members are choosing to use Digital Banking and our Call Center in place of coming into the branch. Please be aware that our hold times may be slightly longer due to the increased volume. Thank you, Credit Union of Colorado

Suggestion for alternate ways of working with the bank/financial institution many customers may not have considered.

Leading in these transformative and quickly moving times requires new levels of executive presence.  If you are exploring what is yours to do as a leadership team, contact Leadership Solutions International for highly effective mindful leadership strategies.

Mindful people: delivering powerful business results.