Author | Chatmeter TeamDate Posted | March 24, 2020

5 Tips to Protect Your Brand’s Reputation During The COVID-19 Outbreak

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads, it’s causing damage beyond just our health; schools and businesses are closing, the stock market is chaotic, and some people are taking extreme precautions against the virus. During times of uncertainty, it’s essential businesses are not only protecting the health of their employees and customers but the health of their brand’s reputation as well. Here are five tips to help protect your brand’s reputation during the COVID-19 outbreak.

#1 – Protect Your Employees

Protecting your brand from the Coronavirus starts with your employees. Employees are the frontline of your brand’s reputation. Keep them safe and healthy and your reputation will follow. The last thing any brand wants is for employees to speak badly about work safety, or worse, leave a bad review for all future customers to read. For best practices, follow the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers.

#2 – Check-In With Vendors and Service Providers

If your brand works with delivery services, local vendors, or other types of partners in order to conduct the day-to-day business, check-in with them to confirm the plans they have in place if an outbreak occurs. Are they planning on closing down operations or making any changes in their policies that might impact your customers?

We’ve already begun to see the impact of the Coronavirus on local businesses across the country. The Coronavirus has sparked a toilet paper, hand sanitizer and water shortage for many retailers. Global shipping companies have been limiting deliveries to countries affected by COVID-19. And just last week, food delivery services like GrubHub, Postmates, Instacart, and other similar services, announced a no-contact drop-off option in order to protect customers and drivers alike. Keeping your employees and customers informed of changes like this can help to prevent issues later down the line.

#3 – Proactively Communicate with Your Customers

Get ahead of the problem by reassuring your customers you have a plan in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Inform them of what precautions you’ve set in place for employees and customers alike. Share this information over email, social media, and your website to ensure all customers are informed. Lyft is a great example of how to keep customers informed.

#4 – If You Need To Close Stores, Update Your Business Listings

Over the past month, we’ve heard of several international stores like Starbucks, Apple, and McDonald’s closing in areas affected by the Coronavirus. If your business has to close its doors, don’t forget to update your business listings. It only takes a few minutes to update your listing for “Special Hours.” Taking this step will help protect your reputation from frustrated customers attempting to visit your business uninformed of the closure. It will also protect your business listing from user suggested edits such as updating your hours or marking your business is “permanently closed”.  Inaccurate listings can lead to consumer distrust. Help your reputation survive the Coronavirus by making sure your listings are accurate.

Click here to see Google’s guidelines for updating your GMB profile if your business is affected by COVID-19.

#5 – Monitor and Respond to Customer Concerns Quickly

Lastly, brands can protect their reputation during a Coronavirus outbreak by monitoring and responding to customer reviews, social comments, and questions on Google Q&A. Tools like Chatmeter’s Pulse can analyze the text in reviews in order to help brands identify local issues. Setting filters for common topics such as Coronavirus, face masks, toilet paper, water, and hand sanitizer can help brands prioritize review responses.

Responding to reviews and social comments within 24 hours is the best way to protect your brand’s reputation during the Coronavirus outbreak. This shows customers that you’re listening and take their concerns seriously.

The threat of the Coronavirus outbreak impacting your health or the health of your business can be stressful. In the case of an outbreak in your area, the last thing you want to be worried about is your business. Start with these tips to protect your brand’s reputation during a COVID-19 outbreak.