The supply chain is the world’s backbone. Providing everything from necessities to luxuries, many of us have come to rely upon the delivery of goods in our everyday lives.
However, more than two-thirds of small businesses have experienced supply chain delays in the past couple of years.
Consumers are very aware of these supply chain issues. The Conference Board of Canada says it’s dampening consumer confidence: A survey revealed more than half of consumers are reluctant to make big-ticket purchases right now because of the supply chain worries.
When choosing brands, 88% of people say having trust in a brand is more important than loving one. Communication is key to gaining this trust, which means that to help your business thrive even in the face of supply chain issues, good communication is crucial. We offer ways to improve supply chain communication.
Provide staff with empathy training
Team members who speak with the public are bound to have a few unhappy customer experiences. However, those unhappy customers can be transformed into loyal brand advocates when their frustrations are acknowledged by an empathetic team member. Even if there isn’t an immediate solution, showing empathy will make your customers feel seen, heard and understood.
To apologize for any inconvenience, provide a small gift to those who had a negative experience with your company. Even though it doesn’t solve the problem, it shows the customer your company cares, and a thoughtful gift can help inspire feelings of patience and understanding. Useful giveaways, like insulated camping mugs, Plush Comforter Throws or Bamboo Cheese Sets, are excellent tokens of your goodwill.
Tailor your communication
Not every stakeholder will need to hear the same thing. Customers may want to know how costs and delivery times will be affected. Employees may be wondering how their job will change (or if there will be layoffs).
Tailor your communication to specifically address each of your audience’s concerns.
Customers will appreciate knowing ahead of time if their order may be delayed. Your team can’t go wrong with open, honest communication. Communicate on your website, social media channels and in newsletters that customers may experience shipping delays. For instance, place a banner on your homepage that says, “Orders placed today will be shipped two weeks from the date of order.” Keep email subscribers abreast of relevant updates—positive and negative. And actively address concerns, late deliveries and other supply chain news on your social media pages. Social media can be an especially effective channel as it allows you to engage with customers in real time, answering questions and providing encouragement. Remind your team to put themselves in their customers’ shoes when responding.
Monitor brand mentions
Supply chain issues can lead to misinformation and the spread of rumours. By monitoring brand mentions on social media, your team can quickly respond to any falsehoods with facts. Be careful not to respond with defensiveness. Rather, reply kindly with the facts—including if there is truth to what’s being said. If there’s a way to go above and beyond for the person posting the information, do so.
Keep your team informed
Don’t forget to communicate supply chain news with your team. Staff members are the ones talking with customers, monitoring your social media, handling orders, reaching out to suppliers and more. Place all staff on a dedicated communication channel, like text or email, so you can quickly send supply chain updates. If a team member asks a question you can’t answer, be honest.
As your team deals with supply chain difficulties, support them in every way possible—from providing the right training and resources to making them feel understood. Start a “Team Member of the Month” program to recognize their hard work. Household gifts are a great reward, so even when they’re not at work, staff is reminded of your thoughtfulness and care. Useful giveaways, like kitchen tool sets or coaster sets in metal stands, work well.
Perfect your supply chain communication
With ideas like training your staff in empathy and tailoring your supply chain communication to different stakeholders, your business can thrive even in the face of supply chain issues.
- Train staff in empathetic communication.
- Tailor your communication.
- Remain transparent and upfront.
- Clearly communicate with staff.