There's no business like snow business!
It was unusually quiet outside this morning. There were no cars going up and down my street, and the usual planes seemed silent overhead. When my youngest son bounced in at 6.45am, he yanked back the curtains and squealed the reason why.
It got me thinking about the opportunities and challenges of snow comms. Here are my five top tips for making the snow work for you:
1: Weather watch
It snows every year. It shouldn't be a surprise. Build a library of content that is ready to go when the white stuff starts to settle. When I was leading communications in an insurance company, we loved pitching out snow related stories to the press at any opportunity. Selling in a story on 'driving safely in the snow,' to a publication in a snow hit area was always a fantastic way to generate quick win coverage and position the business as a knowledge leader.
2: Be content ready
If you think creatively, your business has a solution to the problem that the snow brings to your colleagues and customers. Have interesting content ready to go. You could try:
Fashion: Must wear items to keep you warm in a snow storm
Beauty: Snow and skin - protect your skin from the chilly temperatures
Pharmacy: Snuggle up and keep healthy in the snow.
Don’t forget the golden rule of giving your customers what they need – it might not be directly related to your business or product but it shows them that you care.
3: Communicate quickly to colleagues
Have a tested channel for updates to your people - and make sure they know what it is before you need it. There's nothing worse than battling the weather to find your office is closed.
It's a good idea to use your business continuity cascade, so local leaders can make a judgement call that balances colleague safety with opening stores or branches for customers who need you. And take time to recognise the heroes who've kept the show on the road.
4: Be clear with your customers
If you expect your contact centre to take more calls than usual, change the welcome message as soon as you can. Use your social media pages to let people know if you're closing branches, or if you need to let your teams leave early. Your customers can contact you on your other channels and will understand. Be human in the language you use.
Equally, if you're geared up to offer that bit of extra help on a snow day, make sure that you let people know. There's not much point in doing something amazing if nobody knows it's happening!
5: Do something fun!
Take the opportunity to do something fun - either with your colleagues or customers. Launch a #bestsnowman competition on your social pages with a prize for the winner. Organise a contact centre team snowball fight.
Snow appeals to the big kid in all of us. Take advantage of the sentiment and let it work for you.
On that note, I'm off to build a snowman of my own. If you need any support or advice about comms for any weather, you can reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org