First and foremost, the COVID-19 outbreak is a human crisis and that should be a first order principle guiding messaging. The outbreak is a fast changing and dynamic situation and people are looking to the sources they trust for information, reassurance, and effective communication. Brand purpose – and customers’ experiences with a brand – matter more now than ever. The language you use can reinforce trust or erode it. To help navigate the days, weeks and months ahead, we’re providing these resources on effective language and communication to help you connect with customers, employees and all stakeholders.
Strategic use of words and language can reduce call center costs while driving more digital self-service. A leading insurance company changed the words they use in emails designed to encourage digital self service and drove nearly $600,000 in call center savings from a single email campaign.
Leaders have an opportunity to preserve the digital self-service progress made in the past decade but they have to act fast before COVID-related service costs spiral out of control.
Five guiding principles and a framework to help companies thoughtfully navigate from crisis communications to the new normal.
Even though conditions are changing rapidly, three operating principles can help brands communicate effectively in this phase of the crisis.
Q&A with Persado VP of Strategic Consulting, Vipul Vyas and Director of Content
Intelligence, Lisa Spira
Conveying empathy is vital at this time. The word “You” activates customer-centric communication and is a top performing word because it anchors the message in the customer’s perspective. Examples include “You’re our #1 priority,” “What you should know”
Trust-centric emotional language is important during this time, especially language that conveys Gratitude and Safety. Examples include “Thank you for your patience” (Gratitude) and “We’re here for you” (Safety)
Review how you deliver and word information-based communications. How they are handled is key so they aren’t perceived as alarming or insensitive. Be cautious using the word “Don’t”: It is a consistent poor performer
Overly optimistic, exclamatory or positive language may be perceived as alarming or tone-deaf. Avoid phrases like “This is unexpected,” “It’s your lucky day” etc.
Avoid superlatives, hyperbolic language and capitalization unless it’s essential. Assess any location-based dynamic variables and language for appropriate use and avoid visually alarming formatting, including emojis like ⚠️ ⁉️❗️‼️⁉️