Many small businesses, self-employed people, musicians and artists are uncertain how to behave correctly in the current corona situation. "Who should we inform? And how should we express ourselves? On which channels? What can we say at all to customers, employees, suppliers and neighbours? How do we communicate with banks and authorities?" In the current situation, nobody knows what to do next, and questions like these are a constant in our electronic mailboxes.
So that you are not completely left alone with your communication in this exceptional situation, we have compiled some central crisis communication tips and simple text templates for you - free of charge and for free use. This will help you to quickly regain your ability to speak and act, at least when things get really acute.
The most important communication rules for small businesses and individual enterprises in the Corona crisis
- Stakeholder mapping: Think about which reference groups you are dealing with, how important they are and what interests they have. Typical reference groups are employees, customers, service providers and partners as well as banks, authorities, legal and financial advisors.
- First inform internally: First communicate instructions and behavior to your employees. This includes, for example, information on short-time work, opening hours, bridging measures and, if necessary, an assessment of the economic situation and prospects of your company.
- Then inform externally: Im nächsten Schritt kommunizieren Sie mit Ihren Kunden, Partnern und Lieferanten. Diese versorgen Sie beispielsweise mit InfoThe next step is to communicate with your customers, partners and suppliers. These provide you with information on opening hours, deliveries, operational bottlenecks and, if applicable, the challenges you face.
- Prefer "process communication": Do not wait for results. Inform your reference groups in understandable, target group-specific language about the current status, challenges, approaches to solutions and perspectives. In this way you avoid uncertainty, enter into dialogue and activate your networks to find common solutions.
- Emotion management: Make yourself aware that you are always dealing with people. All these people are in an exceptional situation and are most likely as worried, overwhelmed and insecure as you are. Show understanding and solidarity.
- Important: Only communicate reliable information and findings. Position yourself as a reliable and trustworthy partner and avoid rumours and speculation.
Keep an eye on your company, your environment and all interests
Ask yourself the following questions regularly:
- Involvment: How are our reference or interest groups - i.e. first our company, our employees and then our customers - directly or indirectly affected by the situation?
- Situation: What is the current state of information according to official sources? What challenges are we facing? What is the likely future?
- Action: What can I, as an artist or small business owner, do personally to minimize my own risks? Which offers of help can I access? What help can I offer myself if necessary?
Best practice examples: Free text templates and modules
Below you will find some best practice examples for free and open use.
Concise shop sign:
It's a bit sad without you at [shop name]!
However, we are still here for you:
You can reach us by phone: [phone number], by e-mail: [e-mail], via Facebook and Instagram.
We are happy to advise you and take [orders/commissions]. Choose between a pick up by appointment or delivery to your door [- free of charge]. Of course [our online shop/our website] also works as usual: [URL].
Thank you very much for supporting local dealers!
Take care of yourself, we are looking forward to seeing you again soon!
[Your XY team]
Online information on the website:Dear customers
Due to the current developments, we unfortunately have to temporarily close our [business] with immediate effect. The health of our customers and employees is our top priority. However, don't worry, we will not leave you alone. You can reach us for a telephone consultation as usual during the previous opening hours. You can make an appointment as well via online booking [link]. And of course we are also available for all your questions by e-mail: [e-mail]
We are looking forward to welcoming you soon again personally.
Until then: Stay healthy!
[Your XY Team]
Info letter to customers:Dear Sir or Madam
Due to the spread of the coronova virus, our [facility] must remain closed [temporarily/for the time being]. We expect to be able to resume operations [gradually] from [date].
Until then, our home office staff will process your [orders] [as usual/with the usual quality/on time].
You can still reach us by telephone as usual. As we are sometimes working with emergency staff, we ask for your understanding if you cannot get through immediately. In this case please send us a callback request [to e-mail@address/by e-mail].
In order to protect you and our employees, we will refrain from personal appointments for the time being.
We wish you best health!
[Your XY team]
Get help from communication expertsWe know how difficult it is to communicate appropriately when you are affected yourself and feel powerless by current developments.
Please call us if we can support you in this exceptional situation: Mobilnummern 0171/ 8008006, 0171/ 5630966, 0151/ 28008007 (München Büro), 0170/ 3080777 (Berlin Büro)
Or send us an e-mail to help[at]kaltwasser.de.
We want to help you with our expertise: free of charge and in solidarity - as our contribution to smaller companies that are really struggling with existential fears in the current situation.
Stay calm and healthy!
Your emergency communication team
Brigitte Kaltwasser, Philipp Nieberle, Christina Heinickel, Andreas Schauerte, Charlotte Gräfin von Kielmansegg, Dr. Andreas Schwarz, Lisa-Katharina Kaltwasser und Ann-Charlott Stegbauer