With the outbreak of COVID-19, business leaders are concerned, and rightly so, for the welfare of their people and their organizations.
Estimating the virus’s effect on the global economy currently is hard. However, The SARS outbreak in 2003 which is believed to be the worst epidemic that came close to what is happening is estimated to have cost about US$40 billion; the economist who made that calculation says COVID-19 could cost three or four times as much.
We’ve already seen massive disruption to supply chains, the widespread closures of schools and workplaces across most countries.
For most businesses, one of the biggest challenges is managing a business crisis. COVID-19 will surely test many business leaders to the limit. Most businesses may be experiencing unexpected challenges, here are seven simple steps you can take today to ensure your organization is in the best shape possible to withstand what’s ahead.
Stay up to date by following credible, official sources like the World Health Organization (WHO) and The Ministry of Health @MOH_Kenya department. This will help you respond quickly to any changes that could affect you or your customers. You can choose to follow these platforms on their Social Media platforms.
You may want to consider sending out emails or using your communication channels to your clients and share with them information about the measures you’re taking to make your premises or products safe, or how you will handle customer inquiries on the services you offer
Also, check on your customers and get to know how they are doing. You can skype them to just find out how they are doing. You can also share helpful information from new opportunities to your clients from new opportunities for health tips. This will help them feel appreciated and cared for. Be careful not to bombard them with too much information that at times might end up being irrelevant to them.
Ensure that your Social Media pages are more active and updated. Have regular posts on your business. Proactively share important information with your customers on the pages and where possible tag them. Also, have a pinned to the top of your Facebook Page or Twitter Page for quick viewing.
In case you need to postpone or cancel any planned events as a result of the outbreak, try hosting a webinar or organize live sessions on social channels such as Facebook or Instagram.
Be sure to share the links and steps one needs to follow to join the live broadcast. Once the virtual event is over, you might also want to translate live event content into a digital presentation. You can now easily download the Live event; have it edited and probably upload it on your company’s YouTube Channel.
This will help make the content available to clients who couldn’t join the live broadcast.
At Nairobi Garage, we have a number of virtual events that could actually help businesses gather business insights, you ca n stay up to date with these events here
In order to be responsive and transparent with your customers during this challenging moment, prepare for incoming questions and requests. Consider drafting templated responses for your emails or set up instant-reply messages with information you expect your customers will be looking for. Connect with your customers for free in real-time using platforms like Instagram Direct Messages, Messenger or setting up a WhatsApp Business profile.
Prepare a list of responses for questions your customers or even potential customers are likely to ask and provide as much detail and reassurance as possible in your answers.
COVID-19 isn’t the only threat on the horizon — and often organizations are at their most vulnerable when dealing with a crisis that dominates their attention. The many other risks that your business faces aren’t diminished by an epidemic. Cybersecurity, for example, should always be top of mind.
We don’t know what the next few weeks and months could bring. However, with the restrictions put across by most Governments organizations will need to be agile to respond. Just remember, those companies that are well-prepared will always recover more quickly. We hope the situation will be contained soon, just stay safe and practice the safety precautions given by the World Health Organisation.
Also ensure that as a business you will put together a Business resilience plan which goes a step beyond disaster recovery by offering post-disaster strategies to avoid costly downtime, shore up vulnerabilities and maintain business operations in the face of additional, unexpected breaches.