Chances are you’ve seen these next couple paragraphs. In fact, I’ll bet you’ve seen comments just like these sent to you from your cable company, your bank, your credit card company, and maybe even one or two of the online services you subscribe to:
“Our top priority is always the health, safety, and well-being of our colleagues, clients, and their families. We greatly appreciate the extraordinary efforts by healthcare workers, dedicated first-responders and military personnel, local community members and governments around the world who are on the front line working to contain COVID-19. We are actively monitoring the evolving situation and following guidelines issued by federal, state, and local health officials.
We are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving outbreak of the COVID-19 (the coronavirus) and its impact on the community and are taking action based on guidance from public health experts and the CDC to ensure business continuity for all of our customers around the country.”
If that nonsense sounds familiar, it is. I simply mashed together a bunch of the different emails I’ve received in the past few days to toss this Coronavirus word salad. To paraphrase the old saying, “if I had a nickel for every one of these letters I received, I’d be a wealthy man.”
How Not To Communicate.
These bland statements are worthless. Worse, they are annoying and infuriating. All they do is remind us that the nameless, faceless, corporate services we do business with don’t know us, don’t care about us, and can’t even be bothered to take the time to be helpful or heartfelt in their communication with us. All they want to do is quickly send something out to defend themselves and cover their asses. To quote another old saying, “the keys to effective public relations are honesty and sincerity… and if you can fake that, the rest is easy.”
How To Communicate.
But some businesses do take the time to craft messages that make a sincere difference. Here are some of the better notes I’ve received:
“I’m seeing clients by Zoom! If you have an appointment already or want to schedule one, just call me.” ~ Susan Ford Collins
“I look forward to a future where I get to work with you on improving your business. When the time is right, I will have ideas to share with you on how to do that. Thank you for your business, your loyalty, and your friendship.” ~ Sam Richter
“How can we best support our members during this crisis? Connect and build community.” ~ Jean Moroney
“This is not the time to panic. It’s the time to seize the massive opportunities that are presenting themselves.” ~ Keith Harmeyer
What do these notes have in common? They’re positive, uplifting, helpful, aspirational, warm, kind, and genuine.
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They were written to make us feel better about ourselves and the people who sent them to us. Best of all, they inspire hope.
Here’s another brilliant one from my friends and clients at Velas Hoteles in Mexico (Like the others, I shortened it a bit). Besides being helpful, it offers us some of what Velas is known for:
“My entire team and I wanted to do something special to help out.
We will share videos from our Kids’ Club showing fun activities for the entire family…
Teens will enjoy the best tips they can publish on their social networks…
Adults will receive info from expert therapists who will demonstrate easy massage techniques…
Our 25 world-class chefs will help you fix practical, delicious meals. Feel free to share the ingredients you have in your pantry and our chefs will craft special recipes for you to replicate at home.”
Newspapers and cable TV news shows have done a fine job of worrying us. Our political leadership (or lack thereof) has done a fine job of confusing us. It’s our job to stick together, let people know we care, and offer effective suggestions and solutions.