Covid-19 Coronavirus Communications Checklist
Pandemic Communications Checklist
During a crisis situation it is good to have a checklist of communications. Here is a quick checklist for the current pandemic:
Overcommunicate. Staff are looking to leaders to provide guidance and information. No matter the situation: limited office work, work from home or temporarily furloughed… let them know what the company is doing/thinking.
Be clear. Focus on the main messages and clearly communicate them. What are the 1, 2, 3 things staff should be focused on during this crisis?
Designate all staff who will communicate with customers and the public and what they should say (and not say). Other staff should be coached on gathering information and passing on to designated leaders the concerns of customers.
Set up a feedback loop. Are there ways for staff to reach the your company decision makers with questions or to report things they hear from customers?
Maintain one voice. Check in regularly with those who are speaking with customers or the public to make sure the message is thorough and consistent.
Communicate changes to customers – services, processes, hours, contact information, etc.
Designate contact methods. Do your customers know how to contact the company if they have an issue? Even if you are closed, there should be some way for customers to get a message to company leadership.
Set up a schedule on website and/or social media to update information on a weekly (or more often as necessary) basis. Use push notification (such as email) only when you have real news – information that customers or the public need to know to interact with your company.
Bring perspective. Consider the position of the audience to whom you are communicating. What are they concerned about? Balance that with perspective from your position as a leader in the organization. What do you need them to know?
Be right rather than quick. Don’t react. Take your time, get the message correct, then communicate.
Don’t speculate – if you’re closed for this week, say that, nothing more. In crisis situations, things change quickly.
Stay calm. And speak that way.
Say Thank you. In a crisis, everyone is working in ways they normally don’t or on issues that aren’t typical. Take a moment to appreciate those efforts.
Look for opportunities – not to profit, but to provide education, extra service… be helpful.
Once this crisis passes, schedule time to debrief and develop a plan for the next crisis. Whether large like a pandemic or something smaller, another crisis will come. Having a plan for communications is a smart tool for your business plan.
Contact us if you need help now, or planning for the next communications situation.