Whether we are talking about the COVID-19 pandemic or a local crisis, there are many reasons we lean on technology to help us manage them.
There are many effective ways you can use technology like CRM, marketing automation, email marketing, mobile marketing, and social media marketing to be a great change leader.
When it comes to crisis management, it’s all about being proactive and being there for our people.
As businesses, we can’t control how our people react to crises, but we can control how we react. We can control the messages we send them to help spread the most up to date and accurate information, be there for them and inspire them to stay positive despite the difficulty.
Here are some of the most important considerations when it comes to managing a crisis in today’s climate.
1. How are you spreading awareness and care?
As business leaders, we have a responsibility to address local, national, and global situations that may have direct or indirect effects on the lives of our customers, employees, and partners.
When it comes to crisis management, it’s important that you express your leadership’s own awareness of the situation at hand, the measures you’ve taken to address it and offer messages of kindness and care, not panic or distress.
These messages will likely vary in execution between customers, employees, and partners, but they should be consistent and stem from the same place of good intentions.
Social media, email, and SMS alerts are great ways to spread awareness and care in a crisis. Many CRM systems, like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365, support all of these functions if you want to manage them in one place.
2. How are you managing your brand’s sensitivity response?
Is the person managing your social media accounts, for example, equipped to send the right messages and share accurate information with your communities?
Ensure that your marketing team is on the same page when it comes to sharing particular crisis news. Develop a system of approval to start if you need to. Use project management software like Asana, Trello, Flow, etc.
Ensure the process is effective, visible to the right people, and can be speedily done since it’s important that in times of crisis you share this information sooner rather than later.
More individuals are staying inside in order to ensure their and their family unit’s health and wellness.
To help your customers go remote, offer support with tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Quip, etc. If you have the capacity to help them get started with it, begin offering that service and support, or if you don’t yourself, at least steer them in the right direction.
A little insight goes a long way in showing you care about their lasting success and comfort working from home.
4. How are you engaging with and listening to your people?
How are you communicating with them? How are you opening your business up to questions, especially internally?
Externally facing, using social media, for example, you could start to post a weekly update from your region that your customers’ would be interested in. You may also include relevant links in an email marketing campaign, such as this for COVID-19:
“At (Company Name), it’s not just about business for us. As a customer, you are our top priority. We care about your health and wellbeing. At this time, in an effort to help put the most accurate and up to date information in your hands, we encourage you to subscribe to these top resources: CDC, WHO, (Regional Leadership)(, etc). We will continue with our normal updates as time goes on, on top of helping you keep up to date with the current situation. Be well, (Company Name) Leadership.”
However, you don’t want to contribute to over-stimulating them, but offer them an extension of awareness and care in a way that appropriately reflects your business mission. Don’t overdo, and don’t underdo.
Appropriately and accurately address it in a way that makes sense for your business and customer base.
5. How are you offering a (virtual) shoulder to lean on with inspiration and positivity?
Is your business starting charitable efforts to help those in need during this time? Encourage your team members and customer base to engage with this portal if so.
You could create this sort of portal using CRM, marketing automation (like ClickDimensions or Act-On Software), or the back-end of your website with relevant integrations.
If your company is about philanthropy, this could be a natural evolution to respond to a time of crisis. If you don’t take it on yourselves, you may also redirect your customers and employees to relevant philanthropic charities on social media or through relevant email marketing campaigns.
There are many ways to go about this.
On the same note, the importance of sharing messages of hope and kindness remain critical in times of crisis. Focus on what is being done to improve the problem while still being transparent about its current state. Language and tone will play crucial roles in your communication effectiveness in the time of a crisis.
Be authentic, caring, and engaged in a time of crisis. Your employees and customers will look to you for this level of leadership at this time, whether you are a small local business or corporation.