With ‘lockdown’ being announced as Collins Dictionary’s word of the year earlier this week, it’s safe to say 2020 is a year we won’t forget. (That, and all of the banana bread of course.)

But amongst all of the worry and lack of clarity surrounding us, it’s prime time to ensure your business is remembered for the right reasons this year. From airline companies refusing to discuss refunds or lack of clear messages from suppliers, proactive communication strategies have never been more important.

To help you keep your customers informed and your team motivated, here are three ways to communicate effectively in a period of uncertainty.

  1. Transparency

Transparency is key – both internally and externally. By being up front, whether it’s with positive or negative news (or simply that an update doesn’t yet exist), your customers and colleagues will appreciate being kept in the know.

If you have news which will greatly impact your team, such as the closure of a department or relocation, let them know early on (ideally in person, albeit virtually) so they can prepare as needed for it – plus, tell them how you’re planning to combat it. A member of staff who understands that they are valued in this way will be more motivated to support the company than one who is kept in the dark.

With customers, if there’s a change coming which affects the service they receive, let them know and outline measures you’re putting in place to continue working efficiently with them.

Being honest and providing solutions to potential problems will help garner more respect and loyalty all round. Plus, if anything, this year has made us more understanding all round – people will appreciate a heads up on a delay more than a lack of communication and missed deadline.

  1. Be proactive

Those in the communications industry know that marketing is unfortunately often seen as a luxury service – a nice to have, when there’s budget available.

But how else would a business communicate, both internally and externally? In times of crisis PR experts are suddenly required to manage press enquiries or support with statements, but without any pre-existing brand awareness, a business’ profile may still suffer.

Try not to let periods of uncertainty affect your proactive communications activity. Keep your target media updated with business news via press releases, ensure your social platforms are active and communicating the right messages to your audiences and share content that is both useful and inspiring.

If you feel you or your team need a helping hand in understanding how to communicate effectively, chat to our team about our social media and PR training workshops.

  1. Listen

An often-forgotten part of communication is listening. And as busy people with businesses to run, teams to manage and customers to serve, it’s easy to appreciate why communication can become a one-way activity.

Schedule in time to receive feedback from your team by offering them a monthly company-wide catch up with time specifically set aside for questions. Once it’s a regular occurrence in the diary, it’s easier to give it the attention it deserves, plus will leave your colleagues and employees feeling more appreciated too.

Social listening is also a great way to garner an understanding of how your business or industry is being received by your customers or the general public. Rather than just scheduling content and never checking in on your social platforms, take the time to read and respond to incoming comments and messages and search keywords associated to your business to find out what’s being said.

You never know what may come from social listening – did you know Fitbit’s ‘reminder to move’ feature was a direct result of customer feedback?

Do you think you could be more proactive when it comes to communicating with your stakeholders, whether internal or external? We’d love to know if these tips helped or if you’d like support in creating an effective communications strategy, drop us a message here.