COVID Impact: Essential Services.

Despite our current global health crisis, “essential service” industries must continue working. The public still needs access to necessities like healthcare, financial services, and groceries; providers need to communicate all that they’re doing to still meet customers’ needs in this difficult time. Essential service industries have to be responsive and adaptive to changing circumstances. Consumers are looking for any signs of consistency and reliability to latch on to, so public-facing communications need to be clear, direct, and succinct, and address the confusion many are struggling with. If you’re focused on communication in an essential industry, there are a few key things to remember: Keep it Short and Sweet Banks and healthcare providers should frequently connect with their customers in a crisis, explaining how services will be impacted and how they are making themselves available to their customers. That being said, avoid unnecessary communications. You don’t want to drown out important information or for your customers to start ignoring your emails. Share everything at once and in one place, where members can easily stay updated on the situation. Everything Internal is External Customers and journalists alike are scrutinizing corporate communications as they take stock of companies’ responses to COVID-19. If the tone of internal messages doesn’t match what you’re putting out publicly and those messages leak, you could find your brand mocked for being insincere on social media. Every communication you write—both internal and external—should echo the same core messaging and reflect the fact that nothing is private. Be Compassionate—But Make it Genuine Consumers are inundated with corporate emails detailing each company’s response to COVID-19. Even for those who have not been directly affected by the pandemic, the risk of message fatigue is real. Keep every communication reassuring and compassionate, but stay focused on what you’re doing in the here and now as this situation develops. Avoid the temptation to over-promise about how your organization can help in a crisis. This is an unprecedented global situation that won’t be solved by any one organization—focus on how you’re putting health and safety at the core of your day-to-day operations. The Takeaway When you’re communicating on behalf of a company people depend on, write with intent and heart. People will be forgiving of the brands genuinely doing their best to help their customers and employees.


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