We get it — almost nothing has felt “normal” since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even now, with states reopening and social distance guidelines relaxing, businesses are still being affected in a huge way.
The reality is that this is our reality for the foreseeable future, and the businesses that are finding ways to adapt now are the ones that will thrive throughout 2020 and beyond.
One business dynamic that has been majorly impacted by the pandemic is communication. With so many of us working remotely or working in the office with limited staff or hours, communication challenges are affecting businesses worldwide.
Communication with your team and your clients is essential for your business operations. So what has changed and how can you adapt to the times? In this post, we’re going to help you find the new normal for your business communication.
Get Comfortable Communicating from Afar
During the peak of the pandemic, nearly half of the U.S. workforce was working from home. With many businesses continuing to offer remote work options on an ongoing basis, this isn’t going away any time soon.
If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to make adjustments to how your team communicates so business can go on per usual. For you, this might mean holding a daily team meeting instead of a weekly meeting. It could mean you adopt a video conferencing tool to enhance calls with clients. You could add an internal chat tool so your team can collaborate quickly and efficiently. You also might need to set up a new line of communication for your regular vendors since you’re no longer in the office.
However you decide to proceed, it’s important that you set clear expectations for your new normal so you can continue operating (no matter where you are in the world). For more tips on how to manage a newly remote team read our post here.
Your Team Wants to Hear From You
With so much uncertainty in the future, your team needs your assurance on a regular basis. This especially applies if you’re working in different locations. Humans thrive on connection, and being socially isolated could be wearing on your staff. Constant communication is key to assure your team that everything is business as usual and to keep everyone on the same page.
Even if you’re not in a remote-friendly business, conditions are changing on the daily and those changes will need to be consistently communicated to your team. For example, if your county mandates that masks are mandatory in a place of business, your team will need guidance on how to approach the subject with clients.
It’s completely normal for your staff members to be on edge during this unprecedented time. Regularly communicating with your team will help them feel secure and informed and they’ll be confident to resume their roles.
Your Clients Do, Too
Just like your employees need assurance, your clients do as well. Even now, the pandemic is still causing changes like operating hours, staffing, social distancing guidelines, prices, delivery times, and more. It’s super important to keep your clients informed along the way.
This is one instance where over-communicating is a good thing, tell them over and over about the steps you’re taking to keep everyone safe. There needs to be clear expectations about how your business is going to continue operating during these times so there is no room for interpretation.
Clearly and proactively communicating changes is a great way to gain trust from your customers. Better yet, ask for their thoughts and feedback. Ask them how you are doing so far and what’s important to them right now. Maybe they would appreciate additional assistance like shipping or curbside pickup. Making adjustments based on customer feedback is a great way to earn a customer for life in these trying times.
Technology Can Help
According to PwC, 52% of CFOs are planning to improve the remote working experience by investing in new technology. And it’s no wonder because there are endless amounts of tools out there that can help you run your business from anywhere.
Businesses that previously relied on deskphone systems have been quickly making the switch to a more versatile virtual phone system like Tresta. It’s no surprise that voice calls are up 33% since the beginning of COVID-19, and virtual phone systems supply remote employees with a separate business number they can operate directly from their smartphones.
When looking into new technology to help your business communicate, remember that automation is your friend. Find tools that help you schedule social media announcements and automate emails to your clients. Consider adding live chat to your site to address questions and concerns from site visitors. Take advantage of the technology available to you, it’s easier than ever to proactively communicate with your network via multiple channels.
Operating your business today might look a little different than it did six months ago. But that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to offer great service and grow your business.
Communicate changes to your team and clients early and often, be available to talk, and take advantage of the technology available to you. By adapting your communication practices to fit the times, you can easily find your groove again.