Covid-19 may have thrown lots of things up in the air for your business. But during these uncertain times, what are your clients feeling? Do they feel supported? Are you talking ‘at’ or ‘with’ them? Are you possibly burrowing for safety by saying nothing at all?
Communication is crucial, but what you think you’re saying might not be what your clients are hearing. Similarly, what you’re NOT saying, could be speaking volumes. Clarity is key.
It can be tricky, but knowing how to communicate effectively, especially in a time of crisis, can make the world of difference to you, your business and your clients.
Here are our top pointers on creating (and maintaining) clear and effective communications in a time of crisis.
Anticipate questions, worries or difficulties your clients may have throughout this crisis (and beyond) and where possible be on the front foot. Be the support you wish you had. Call your clients and touch base with them, ask them what they need and how you can help.
Do they need refinancing or other financial relief services during this time? Do they maybe just want to have a chat about their options and where they’re at?
Get ahead by taking a genuine interest and communicate the solutions you find along the way. Show your clients that when things are tough you’re right there with them, ready to help.
Answer all questions
Nothing spreads panic like uncertainty, and with lots of questions going unanswered right now, uncertainty is running rife.
Minimise this by answering all the questions that you humanly can. Be clear and share information relevant to your clients. Where possible, answer questions before they’re even asked and share them on open forums such as social media so that everyone benefits from the answers. Open your lines of communication to allow these questions to flow freely and let your customers know that you’re more than happy to answer them. Create FAQ social posts or email your customers with answers to the top 5 or 10 questions you’re being asked. Or write blog posts addressing more complicated questions.
Be proactive, informative and ready to help.
Although it’s crucial to be present, available and communicative with your clients during this time, there’s no point communicating just for the sake of it.
Make sure that when you “speak” you’re adding value and not just noise to an already loud environment. Do your clients need to know your business’ 10 step program for onboarding remotely? Or are you just sharing content to look busy?
Share only relevant content and keep people up-to-date on what they actually need to know. A great approach is to spend time updating your website. Set up a FAQ page and address commonly asked questions there. Update your Google My Business account to reflect your new business hours (if these have changed due to events). Make information easy to obtain without forcing it on every individual on your contact list. Create educational content that adds value to your clients’ current state.
Talk ‘with’ not ‘at’
Ever been 20 mins into a conversation when you realised you hadn’t said ‘hello, how are you?’ yet? It’s important to take the time to acknowledge and listen to your community. Before you dive in and throw information at them, pause. Listen.
No one likes to feel overlooked. If your clients aren’t getting a word in edgewise, what you’re preaching is somewhat irrelevant as it won’t be long before they glaze over. Communication is a two-way street. Talk WITH them, not at them. Ask your clients what they need from you and listen before you act. Be open, allow feedback and be engaged, not just engaging.
Make it personal
Think about who you’re communicating with, their individual needs and current circumstances, then address them directly. There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to relationships, and professional relationships are no different.
Are you talking with a small business in a booming industry? Or an individual suddenly out of work with limited options? Tailor your information to bring value accordingly.
Be genuine, open and honest
No matter what you’re trying to communicate, do it genuinely. Ask how your clients are going because their welfare genuinely matters to you. Educate and bring value to them because you honestly wish to assist. Have open conversations knowing that at the end of the day, you’ve done the best you can and delivered without restrictions in a time of need. These traits will always stand the test of time and will be remembered when the dust begins to settle.
Whether the term ‘crisis’ is used to cover a global pandemic, a crash in the market or a more localised issue like your website being out of action, the principles of quality communication remain the same. Be proactive, answer questions, bring value, talk with (not at), make it personal and above all, be genuine.
Need advice on communicating within the mortgage broking and third party sector? Reach out to our expert recruitment consultants for a free business strategy session to get the ball rolling.
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