A quick note
Prior to contacting your Members, it is crucial to come up with an Action Plan. Your Action Plan will ensure that you, along with your Members, employees, and community, have a clear direction to proceed. Based on developments, Action Plans will likely require updates. Be sure to keep Members informed of any changes updating posts accordingly. A helpful resource for building an Action Plan is linked here.
I think it is safe to say we did not expect to be writing a blog post about communication during a pandemic, yet here we are! While the circumstances are unfortunate, this past week has given our team the opportunity to investigate and analyze best practices for communication in a crisis.
Check out the post below to explore our guide to creating and sharing effective crisis communication.
1. Show Awareness
The first step to problem solving is understanding the issue at hand. Show Members your plan for the future by sharing your Action Plan.
- Share your Action Plan
Calm fears and reinforce trust by sharing your Action Plan on your website, social media pages, and in emails.
- Cite your Sources
Strengthen the validity of your Action Plan by citing the sources that informed your decisions. Share links such as news articles, health guidelines, and other useful tips as they become available.
- Update your Action Plan
Be sure to revisit and revise your Action Plan regularly. Remember to include your plans for communication even after life returns to “normal”.
Useful Links for Building Awareness
2. Take Action
As you have likely experienced for yourself, CEOs and brands have been flooding consumer inboxes with messages regarding their pandemic plans. Your Members are probably receiving similar email overflow. To avoid becoming another unread email, increase the effectiveness of your communication by showcasing your Action Plan with these tips.
- Send texts with services like ClubChat
Text messages have long surpassed email as the most effective way to communicate. With a 98% open-rate and the ability to add photos and videos, text messages will get your Members’ attention wherever they are. In the rapidly changing climate of COVID-19, your Club needs a quick, reliable means of communication. To learn more about the ClubChat tool, click here. Use promo code: BLOG!
- Utilize Social Media
In addition to being a free service, social media is likely already a part of your Members’ everyday lives.
Share a personalized, thoughtful video of your General Manager or another Club official explaining your Action Plan. Be sure to highlight your Club’s already high standards of cleanliness and health, then outline the enhanced actions that are being taken.
Upload photos of your Action Plan at work. The best photos will highlight “visible” actions, or changes that can clearly be seen. Be sure to choose an image that provides the best opportunity for explaining your Action Plan, like a shot of your serving staff wearing gloves while delivering food to a table.
- Update your Club’s Website
Your Members likely use your site to learn more information about your Club already. This is a great way to utilize your already-familiar website.
Add a pop-up to your website. Be sure to include important information, such as schedule changes, closings, and cancellations on your homepage.
TIP: Link your pop-up to a more detailed page of updates to provide site visitors with comprehensive information.
3. Employ Empathy
First and foremost, golf and country clubs are in the industry of people. Like you, Members and employees are probably facing many changes to their daily life. It’s important to acknowledge the stresses your Club community is experiencing by practicing empathy.
- Speak with Kindness
Be sure to address all audience members (Members, employees, Private Event hosts, the public) in a manner that acknowledges the intensity of these times. Kindness and understanding are essential for maintaining a healthy and mutually respectful relationship during intense situations.
- Be Transparent
While canceled events impact Clubs negatively, it’s important to recognize the hassle and disappointment that a canceled event can cause the Event Host as well. Communicate with Event Hosts well in advance and provide transparent information regarding your policies on rescheduling, refunds, etc.
- Rally the Community
Growing restrictions and closings are changing everyday life in our communities. If possible, explore ways that you Club can support the local community, especially Member-owned businesses. Putting together a Member Business Directory can be a great way to bring your Club together while boosting the local economy.
- Give Back
As everyday life continues to be disrupted, many communities are finding ways to help. If possible, consider hosting a drive for food or essentials such as toilet paper, basic medication, and non-perishable items. If you are not equipped to start your own drive, your Club may be able to partner up with a current effort in some way.
4. Give Hope
While it is easy to become obsessed with the negative, it is important to remember that better days are ahead.
- Find the Difference-Makers
Shine the spotlight on someone from your Club making a difference during these bleak times. From Members to employees, there are undoubtedly people in your community who are finding ways to give back.
- Lighten the Mood
Without negating the severity of the issue, some businesses have already used their social media pages to give viewers a laugh. From creative ways to clean the house to silly songs for keeping time while washing your hands, people are loving the humorous posts.
IMPORTANT: Always use your best judgment, and never share anything demeaning, dehumanizing, or insensitive. There should be humor in it for everyone.
Effective crisis communication...
- Shows awareness of the situation and shares the resources used to guide your decisions
- Illustrates the actions being taken to best address the situation as it progresses
- Speaks with empathy for all parties involved
- Gives hope for the future
We hope that these tips will help you to effectively communicate with your Members during this uncertain time. If you found our tips helpful, consider sharing our post with the buttons below.