Reputation management has always been a crucial strategy for businesses – big and small. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become more important than ever. A wave of fear, uncertainty, and paranoia is sweeping far and wide, and to effectively run a business during these unprecedented times, your customers must acknowledge you as a safe, responsible, and prudent business.
The pandemic has affected consumer behaviour in several ways.
Firstly, people have become more risk-averse – in terms of finance as well as health. They do not want to spend their money buying products and services that may not deliver according to the expectations. They also do not want to work with businesses that aren’t taking the necessary measures to ensure the safety of both their employees and customers.
Secondly, people are considering the humanitarian side of the business as well. They want to work with organizations that are taking good care of their employees during these difficult times and aren’t treating them as mere tools. So, if you are leading an organization that is going the extra mile to ensure the well-being of its employees, it might be worthwhile communicating that to your customers.
At a time when uncertainty has become the order of the day, being transparent and communicating effectively can-do wonders for your business.
How can you manage the reputation of your business amid Covid-19?
Act, don’t react
We often observe that businesses – especially those operating at a smaller scale do not pay due attention to their reputation unless a problem arises. They then jump into the action for firefighting, take care of the issue and return to hibernation.
This strategy simply won’t help during Covid-19. Instead of reacting to everything, start being proactive! Talk about the good work you are doing; let people know that you are taking a stand. It will help your business massively
Look after your workforce
When people think of reputation management, they think it’s all about the customer. However, there are more things that you need to consider. While it may not have been the case in the past, nowadays, the customers do take into account how an organisation treats its employees.
How you’re managing your workforce says a lot about you as an organization, and since the world is already getting filled with negativity, every little act of wholesomeness is getting acknowledged. While it may not be feasible to give employee bonuses or appraisals because of financial constraints, there’s still a lot that you can do.
So many workers are stranded alone in far-flung places because of their jobs and they might have no one to even talk to – not even their colleagues because of the work-from-home situation. It is, therefore, necessary that you get in touch with your employees and make them feel that they’re a part of the community.
When people see that you’re doing your best not just to survive but to survive together with your team, they will trust and respect you – and the development of trust and respect between the customers and the business is the foundation of a lifelong relationship.
Don’t be negligent with safety
As the second of Covid-19 is unleashing havoc around the world, safety should be your priority at the moment.
It is not the time to cut corners or skip steps. Follow the guidelines laid down by the respective authorities in your region and go the extra mile if you have to. If possible, switch to the work-from-home model. It is the best way to keep your workforce safe and healthy.
If, however, the nature of your business requires you to stay open, make sure you have all the necessary safety measures in place including sick leave policies, testing, social distancing, business travel guidelines, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Effective communication is not only important for reputation management but it can also help your business in several other ways.
Since the supply lines are broken and business has become difficult, you might have to raise the cost of your products or services to survive. If the customers do not why your costs have gone up, they might begin to harbour negative feelings towards you. However, if you communicate with them and explain to them that the increment in the costs has been forced by necessity, they will understand.
Also, communication shouldn’t be exclusive to customers.
Communicate with your employees. Regularly ask for feedback and study it thoroughly. It might help you to come up with a solution.
Communicate with your vendors. If you think you can’t make a certain payment on time, you should inform them in advance. If you wait until the last minute, they might feel that you’ve betrayed them and it’ll ruin precious business relationships.
Communicate with all the stakeholders about the current situation of your business.
These are difficult times and things can go awry at any moment, but reputation management and effective communication can save you a lot of trouble! If you feel that all this is too much for you to handle on your own, you can get in touch with professionals who have been in the business of communication for a long time. They can point you in the right direction and share your burden. Whatever you choose to do, do it quickly. Time is of the essence!
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