Contractor Communication During the Coronavirus Crisis

As most of us are already aware, communication is a vital component to nurturing relationships with prospects and clients, but now more than ever it has become essential for the survival of a business.  The coronavirus pandemic has impacted individuals, families, and businesses on multiple levels, and it has changed the mindset and priorities for many buyers.  Safety measures and how you operate your business hold more weight for a decision-maker now than in the past, as health and safety have become a primary focus area for nearly everyone, across all markets.

For this reason, many businesses are in a position where they are being forced to shift their service models and methods for communication and delivery.  And while these shifts are necessary and in some ways expected by clients, if you do not effectively communicate the efforts you are making to ensure safety standards are met, clients may be less likely to move forward with a new project or continue with an outstanding order.

In order for your business to remain resilient and strong during these uncertain times, here are a few areas to consider when it comes to internal and external communication:

  • Employees– Your clients are not the only people concerned about safety measures, as well as the financial security of your business.  Many employees are concerned about job security and their health and safety on the job.  In order to provide peace of mind and stability for your team, keep communication consistent and transparent regarding the state of your business, financial forecasts, and any potential changes ahead.  Additionally, all new safety guidelines and practices should be constantly trained and reinforced, with accountability measures and disciplinary actions in place.  Keep in mind that with information and safety practices being new, it may take a few reminders to ensure that employees are following all rules and regulations; that being stated, consequences for not following the rules should be clearly stated in communications including but not limited to email, verbal instruction, toolbox talks, as well as a signed agreement of understanding of the new policies to be followed.
  • Inventory and Suppliers – There is no denying the fact that inventory and supply chains have been paused and interrupted by the pandemic. While you may have not experienced shortfalls in inventory and supplies yet, it is time to think ahead and prepare.  Based on your current and anticipated demand, take the time to run through inventory to ensure that you have adequate supplies for a sustained period.  Additional measures that you can take include communicating with all current and potential distributors to discuss outstanding needs and to diversify your distributor sources in case a supplier cannot meet an order request.
  • Insurance Coverage – While you may not want to think about it, right now is the time to review your insurance policy if you have not already done so. For example, do you have business interruption insurance?  What does your policy cover and how do you process claims?  Setting up a time to meet with your insurance agent for a phone or zoom meeting is necessary for you to review your policy and understand precisely what is covered in the event of an extended incident.
  • Customers– Communication with customers is critical right now to address any concerns regarding your operations and safety measures in place.  Through personal contact by phone and email, as well as public announcements on social media and your website, you should inform your customers about the status of your operations, the protective measures you’ve implemented, and how you will keep them safe when you and your crews are on their property.

In uncertain and challenging times, it can be difficult to communicate information that is uncomfortable to discuss or that we would prefer to overlook, but the truth is that customers and employees need to feel safe and secure.  By communicating about the difficulties that we are all facing and sharing the steps and measures that you have in place to overcome them, you are building trust both inside and outside of your business.

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