Winter presents a challenge to a wide range of industries, from energy, to travel and tourism, retail and healthcare.
There’s likely to be more sickness about, the weather delays flights and trains, consumers’ expectations are high in the run-up to Christmas, and there is greater demand for gas and electricity.
We’ve been taking advantage of the Indian Summer here in the UK to work with clients on developing and honing their online crisis communication skills, in anticipation of difficult months ahead.
Through Autumn and Winter, we see organisations experiencing greater demand on their social channels, both externally from customers, and internally, as traditional customer call centres share an ever greater slice of responsibility with social channels. Under pressure, it is crucial to maintain a consistent professional tone, and think carefully about your audiences’ demand for detail.
For the most part delayed commuters like me just want to get home as fast as possible, but some will insist on understanding the cause of the delay in the first place. Never underestimate people’s understanding of a signal box, flu, parcel logistics or runway procedures.
Being able to make fast, fair, judgements on whether a level of technical explanation is needed, or whether simple advice will do, is a key skill for organisations to get right. Too often I see companies assume too much knowledge of their audience, leading to confusion, or conversely, companies resorting to blunt ‘signposting’ to pages of vague information.
Our most successful clients are those whose teams can make fast, fair, judgements by understanding the individual they are talking to online: their tone, interests and background information. It isn’t a perfect science, but learning through
mistakes practice and feedback, helps rapidly build team confidence.
Just like the House Stark motto, be vigilant. Know your audience, listen carefully and be prepared to give them the information they need.