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The Chain of Confidence

The importance of communications in uncertain times
By Michael F. Reidy

How many times have you heard from your retirement fund manager since the COVID-19 crisis began?
I’ve heard from mine five times – three times from the fund manager himself and three times from the CEO of the whole shooting match.
How many times have your customers heard from you?
When the dust finally settles on COVID-19 and commerce begins again in earnest, the evolution to a new economic world will have begun. Globalisation will be scrutinised in a way it has never been done before, and the wisdom of long supply chains, distant manufacturing and zero stock-holding will be thoroughly re-examined.
Financial institutions will be cash-strapped and actively reforming their portfolios.
The new reality may be the realisation that your customers are your biggest investors.
As economic observers will tell you, economics is more about confidence than money.
Building a strong chain of confidence will help businesses survive – even thrive – in the post-virus world.
That is why maintaining contact with your customers is so important, and that contact should be to and from multiple points in your company. At executive, technical, and purchasing levels and from head and regional offices.
Your customers need to know you are still in business and ready to support them.
Part of the communication with your customers should be to encourage them to be in touch with their customers, too.
In that way, the chain of confidence can be maintained and strengthened.
Things you can do during shut-down and limited operations periods:
1. “Essential services” under COVID-19 provisions are defined differently in different countries. The paper, printing, packaging and labelling sectors are very complex.
a. Helping customers in countries where their activities may be restricted would be appreciated for a very long time in the future. You could add your voice to lobbying their governments and helping them develop products that are permitted.
2. Review their leasing/finance agreements in the light of new national legislation and provisions.
3. Help them apply for relief
4. Help them maintain and strengthen their own chain of confidence by supporting the outreach to their customers
5. Evaluate post-virus production requirements, restocking, equipment and workflow requirements
All of these things can be done by email, telephone or video call, and will not endanger personnel.
This period has given businesses a hugely valuable resource that is generally in short supply: time.
Let us help you to use it well.

 

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