Did you know that the economic impact of a single snowstorm can be upwards of $1 billion? The winter season always brings challenges to your business, whether it be snow, sleet, or dangerously cold temperatures. The best approach is to be prepared. Having a communication plan in place will help protect you, your business, and your customers.
Create an Internal Communication Plan
Your first priority should be communicating effectively with your employees. You should begin doing this before a weather event, otherwise your messages will get lost in confusion and fear. Let everyone know of your general plan in case of a severe winter weather event, and reassure them that you will let them know all specific steps when necessary. Make sure that you have everyone’s phone numbers and email addresses on hand, or remind your employees to update them so you’ll be able to reach them if necessary.
Weather can be subjective, so most of the time a general plan won’t be enough. You will need to make the call closer to the weather event, such as the night before. Use a text alert system to let everyone know not to come in or if you’ll be offering a delayed start.
If the weather event occurs during the day, make sure you communicate with everyone on the premise and create a clear timeline for when they can safely leave to go home.
Don’t Forget About External Communication
Of course, internal communication should only be part of your strategy. You can’t forget to communicate with your customers and the general public! If weather causes you to close early, open late, or keep your business closed all day, you need to let everyone know. The following are a few good methods to keep your customers in the loop:
- Post to all your social media accounts. Many people use social media as a source of news and check their newsfeeds regularly. This may be the fastest way to let people know.
- Update your website. Consider putting a temporary banner on your website that describes your new hours.
- Send a mass email. If you offer an email newsletter, considering using the list of contacts for a brief update about any temporary changes due to winter weather.
- Update your voicemail message. Create a new voicemail message people will hear when calling your business.
Inclement weather can set your business back. A communication strategy, however, will reduce any damage or lost time.