Client communication is one of the most essential elements of any business. It is a fundamental part of your brand's DNA and when done right, it will create greater loyalty and drive more business your way.

If you get it wrong, your business will lose clients and revenue will drop.

I’d like to share the following 10 tips to ensure you communicate successfully and profitably.

Stay true to your mission 

Your company mission is a statement that defines your business’s guiding principles. In times of crisis, your company’s mission and core values should inform both how and what you communicate to your clients. 

It’s not the time to market and promote, it’s the time to stand firm with your clients.

Prioritize what they need rather than your own bottom line, which comes off as opportunistic. 

Action point: Speak to your clients regularly and show them you care about how they are coping.

Use the right tone 

It’s important to take on a compassionate tone in times of crisis. 

Use a calm tone and let your empathy shine through. Let them know that we’re all in this together and that your clients and employees are your top priority.

Use your communications, whether it’s by email or through social, to align with client concerns, how you will support them through a crisis and that you appreciate their support as well.

Always be positive but honest, thoughtful, and constructive. 

Action point: Know the best method to communicate with each of your clients.

Be clear

During times of uncertainty, people are receiving mixed messages left and right. How will your business cut through the noise? 

No matter which communication tool you use, be clear on its purpose, what are you saying, and what action you want your clients to take?

If the goal of your communication is to let people know how your business is supporting them through COVID-19, say how you’re doing that and what they need to do, the call to action.

Finally, direct them to the appropriate resources like a page on your website.

Action point:  Ensure your clients know how to contact you during this crisis.

Don’t sugar coat any message

Be honest and clients will appreciate this. Take responsibility for what you can control but if certain issues are out with your control, sensible people will understand this.

Action point: Use facts and stay away from emotion.

Be topical

The timing of when you communicate is just as important as what you say. When events happen companies need to be quick to talk with their clients and potential customers.

If you have something to communicate don’t delay. Say it, outline what clients need to do and how you will help them. 

One way to do this is through your website. It should serve as a source of information and updates.

Your site is where your clients can refer to at any time for general information on how your business is handling the crisis and supporting them.  

Action point: Update your website regularly.

Stay active on social media 

Social media is one of your most useful channels for connecting with people.

While updating your website or sending emails each day may not be realistic for some business owners, using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to keep clients informed can be a more accessible option. 

I would, however, urge you to be selective with the information you circulate. We are in an era of fake news, so it’s important that the information you share is credible and trustworthy. 

Action point: Decide which social media works best for you and your clients then use it often.

Explore new ways of communicating

Marketing, just like any other business process, needs to evolve in order for your business to survive and thrive throughout the coronavirus crisis. What new communication techniques have you tried?

Many businesses have harnessed mobile technology so that they can work remotely and have found software such as Zoom beneficial. The quality of communication doesn’t change all that much. They can share screens, review clients’ needs, and agree on the way forward.

Action point:  How have you embedded video conferencing into your client communications strategy?

Review your marketing messaging and promotions

Businesses need to audit all current and upcoming promotions, social media posts, public relations outreach, advertisements, blog posts, and digital content to ensure their messaging reflects the current situation and isn’t completely tone-deaf.

Action point: Review what you are saying and how you are saying it.

Be ready for anything

While it’s impossible to predict where we will be in the coming days or months, there are always ways to be ready for change and keep both customers and employees informed. 

Clients and employees are looking to the government and businesses for guidance right now. Find ways of supporting your community and ask for their support in return. 

Action point: Show your clients the humanity behind your brand, and that you’re all in this together.

Think positive and plan for the future

The coronavirus is a crisis, but it will pass.  You need to identify the opportunities to ensure your business emerges in better shape than ever.

This is undoubtedly a challenge but also an opportunity to evolve how you communicate with your clients and operate as a business.

I’d like to leave you with a quote from Roy T Bennett the motivational speaker:

“Remember that every challenge, every adversity contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth”.

Make sure you have a communications strategy for growth.

* John Joe McGinley, Glassagh Consultancy, May 2020.

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