By Nicola Field, Associate Director, Corpwrite

In hibernation, communication keeps you connected to customers

The best decision I’ve made so far in 2020 was taking my 13-year-old son to London. It was a blast – but amid all the history and hustle of London, it was the squirrels that enchanted Nicholas.

A particular point of interest was the way squirrels hibernate during the UK’s cold winter. Frankly, I suspected the Hyde Park squirrels long ago ditched any notion of hibernation, preferring instead to live off the rich pickings of London’s year-round tourist trade. Nonetheless, I explained that squirrels stock up on nuts in summer to survive the leaner months.

When Nick asked how they know to prepare for hibernation, I was flummoxed. Maybe squirrels hand the message down across generations. Maybe it’s instinctive. Whatever the case, they do it, and it works.

So, I was intrigued when just weeks later, Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested that Australian businesses should go into hibernation as part of the COVID-19 lockdown.

It was a euphemistic way of saying “shut down until this is all passes by”. The trouble is, hibernation isn’t on the agenda of any business. It’s doubtful that even the best-laid continuity plans anticipate a near-total closure of activities for months on end.

The bottom line is that unlike squirrels, businesses don’t have a proverbial stash of nuts to get through the Coronavirus winter.

Communication keeps your brand alive

A raft of stimulus support may help your business weather the storm. But survival isn’t just about cash flow. It’s also important for businesses to remain connected to their customers through regular communication.

Staying in touch doesn’t just help your brand stay top of mind. In the current climate, where so much is uncertain, it offers reassurance that you’ll be there with the doors wide open when lockdowns start to lift.

The risk of complete radio silence is that people start to question if you’re even still in business.

Staying connected can be very low cost

The good news is that effective business communication can be extremely cost-effective. A single blog can be the basis of a social media post, a client email or part of a newsletter. So you get plenty of bang for your buck.

Importantly, as household budgets tighten, your business communications don’t have to be about “Hey you, buy this”.

Simply staying in touch demonstrates that you value the relationship. If you can offer tips to support customers in these challenging times, so much the better. A restaurant can share the recipe for a favourite sauce. A mortgage broker can provide an overview of the pros and cons of a home loan holiday.

The key is regular contact. Having spent years building your customer base, now is not the time to drop the ball.

Maybe we didn’t have the foresight of squirrels to prepare for the tough times, but in these long days of self-isolation, chances are your customers will go nuts just to hear from you.