If there’s one thing we can be certain about as we continue to navigate life in a pandemic, it’s that much of the digital transformation 2020 brought about is here to stay. This time last year, while many companies had already embraced remote work for a variety of reasons, the majority of employees could be found safely ensconced in their companies’ offices and retail locations five days a week. But in early to mid-March, as COVID-19 raced around the United States and shelter-in-place orders sent workers to home offices for the foreseeable future, even the most analogue of businesses were suddenly propelled into the digital world. In fact, according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, last spring brought us a full two years of digital transformation in just two months.
One of the biggest challenges that came to light as entire organizations shifted to remote work, franchise locations juggled remaining open with keeping their communities safe, and multi-location organizations monitored regulations in various states and cities was how to keep key stakeholders up to date on the latest news. Throughout the pandemic, questions, updates, and more questions have arisen more frequently and consistently than ever:
- Local and state orders have dictated policies around workplace protocols and store openings
- Employees have sought information about work hours, changes to pay structure, COVID-testing, and other company-sponsored health benefits
- Store managers / staff needed access to on brand content – from store signage and customer facing content with updated policies, to new employee materials with new procedures and policies
- How to communicate with customers about how to purchase supplies and equipment they need (and how to support their favorite brands)
In the face of changes like the ones we’ve all encountered over the last year, resilient company culture and ongoing customer engagement start with internal communication tools that ensure every employee at every level has access to the latest information — and the approved corporate messaging to share that information both internally and externally. And, as we continue navigating a world where staying safe means staying apart — and where remote work is likely to become more of a status quo than an exception — the changing communication methods make it all the more complicated to keep everyone on the same page.
Centralized Communication Ensures Access to the Latest Information
Businesses today need an efficient, effective way to ensure employees have the information they need to know to do their jobs — and to keep customers informed, as well, both during and after COVID-19. The most successful strategy is to adopt a “command center” of sorts. This centralized communication hub is accessible anytime, from anywhere employees are located, and it keeps every internal communication and update organized and at users’ fingertips. Think of it as the digital incarnation of an old-school bulletin board that provides employees with the details they need to know, when they need them — along with any assets they’ll need to quickly and accurately pass the message on to customers and the community.
Keeping all this information front and center for employees empowers brands to maintain a seamless customer experience. We know customers expect personalized, consistent, multichannel communication from the brands they love, and in times of crisis, they’re especially attuned to communication from those companies to offer a little certainty and stability about what’s available to them, and how. But internal teams can only provide that clarity for customers if they get clarity for themselves, first. Once they do, they can customize and localize the pre-approved messaging, print or order brochures, flyers, and signage, and create website and social media updates to pass what they know on to their communities.
Clear and open communication channels are the most effective way businesses can continue providing value to customers no matter what else is happening in the world. But to do so requires clear and open internal communication channels — and that starts with a centralized communication hub.
OneTouchPoint’s U.Connect platform is a powerful internal tool to keep employees and leaders up to date as they adapt to changes in the marketplace, whether they’re related to COVID-19 or not. Keeping location managers, sales representatives, affiliates, and other internal stakeholders up to speed on changes — and providing with them access to the latest approved messaging and collateral — ensures that internal teams can keep customers and potential customers in the know.