March 10, 2020
How Can You Help Customers Facing Concerns About Coronavirus?
Your customers often look to you during times of crisis, like severe weather events and widespread power outages. The coronavirus outbreak is raising alarm bells around the globe and it’s likely that some of your customers are concerned and looking for information from a trusted source. Here are six ways to help your customers cope with the situation and keep them informed.
1. Recommend They Prepare or Restock Emergency Preparedness Kits
An emergency preparedness kit is something every household should have. Suggest your customers prepare their household by:
- Stocking up on food staples, household supplies like laundry detergent, and bathroom items like hand soap, tissues, wipes, and diapers for those with small children.
- Ensuring at least a 30-day supply of any prescription medications and a reasonable inventory of frequently used medications like pain relievers, cough and cold medicine, vitamins, stomach remedies, etc.
- Developing a plan to care for elderly parents or relatives if they become ill.
- Learning what plans your workplace and children’s school have in place to handle an outbreak.
2. Ensure Customers Are Aware of Alternative Information and Payment Options
The last thing your customers should be worried about during a severe flu outbreak in their area or period of quarantine is leaving the house to get information about their account or make an in-person payment. Put their minds at ease by making sure they are aware that they can visit your website or mobile app to manage their accounts or make online payments instead. For those customers who prefer to use cash for payments, direct them to kiosks, which are available 24 hours a day and reduce person-to-person contact. Just be sure to reiterate the need to wash hands before and after using any kiosk.
3. Leverage Customer Communication Channels for Updates
You can also keep your customers informed and protected by sending information and updates in outbreak areas through email, push notifications, and social media channels. Direct them to social media and chatbots to get answers addressed at any time of the day or night. Take this time to remind customers to sign up for text/push alerts so they can receive updates from you regarding coronavirus-related activities. As a plus, once registered, you have the green light to send them future notifications about outages, storms, service interruptions, and more. For a communication that is sure to be opened, you can also reach out through the mail with bill inserts or onserts.
4. Direct Them to Reputable Sources of Information
It’s difficult to know where to go for reliable information these days. Social media definitely doesn’t get it right all the time and the media can sometimes create panic when prudence would better serve us. Arm your customers with facts from trusted sources by sharing information from the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Agency of Canada, and local public health agencies. Be sure to highlight how local health agencies will share information with the public.
5. Develop or Add to Your FAQ with Questions Related to the Coronavirus
Much of the information you’re pushing out through customer communication channels can also be added to your FAQ on your website, like how to pay a bill if you’re ill, where to sign up for push alerts and text messages to receive outbreak updates, and how to prepare your household. You should also address what will happen if an outbreak occurs in their area and provide a list of resources to obtain additional information from local health authorities and municipalities.
6. Emphasize Good Hygiene as the First Line of Defense
There can never be too many reminders to be diligent about hygiene during flu season and particularly in times of widespread outbreaks. Proper handwashing, keeping your hands away from your face, and being mindful of touching surfaces and door handles in high-traffic areas like stores, gyms, and public transit. Also, point out that people should stay home from work if they’re not feeling well and contact a doctor if their symptoms worsen.
Your customers defer to you in times of need. By sharing information that will help them weather the current coronavirus outbreak, you confirm your status as a dependable partner when your customers need you the most.