As child care centers across the country prepare to reopen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of effective communication has exacerbated. Behind the scenes, administrators are working tirelessly at implementing seamless reopening policies and procedures to streamline the reopening process. As a society we are navigating an unprecedented situation in the form of a novel virus which has taken over the world. There is no denying that times have changed, and we must evolve to fit in with this new normal, regardless of how intimidating that may be.
5 ways to ensure child care providers and families are communicating effectively as our country begins to reopen.
1. Be clear– There is no room for vague communication when dealing with a global virus outbreak. Communication must be straightforward and clear. Audiences should not have to sort through ambiguous material or decipher the content they receive. Instead, all communication should be thorough and clear with little room for interpretation by the intended recipient. If they are expected to complete an action, they should have an immediate understanding as to what they are being asked to do as well as how to do it.
2. Be consistent– If you make a promise it is critical that you deliver. When information is expected, there is no greater way to break the line of trust than to deny the recipient the information they were expecting. If you are guaranteeing an update every Monday, it is crucial that you are able to deliver that update during the promised time frame. It can also be beneficial to keep your audience abreast of the evolving situation even if there are not any updates, so they do not feel neglected or forgotten. However, be sure you aren’t sending useless communications (see below).
3. Make the communication applicable– ensure that the information you are providing matches your audience’s needs. Think about all of the junk mail you receive. After a while, do you even open it? Probably not because it does not pertain to your needs. However, if you knew that the communication you were receiving always directly affected you, you would be significantly more inclined to engage with the content. Providing your clients with information that they want and need will ensure they do not feel as if they are wasting their time in reading it and will ideally build trust resulting in continued engagement.
4. Be honest– People are worried, scared, and apprehensive because of COVID-19. No one can predict the future and the evolution of the virus is very unfamiliar. With that said, when communicating about reopening, be honest and upfront. Most individuals already feel as if they are in the dark and the media has people’s heads spinning. Rather than add to the chaos, be a source of calm with real, succinct, open and honest information. Steer clear of assumptions and predictions and provide fact-based information in your communication.
5. Be quick– We live in a very fast-paced world with technology at our fingertips. With millennials at the forefront of society, we have transitioned to an immediate gratification mentality where we want answers now. Communication must be fast. In fact, good communication may even be immediate, with the recipient receiving the communication (and acting upon it if necessary) shortly after it has been pushed out.
Through effective and efficient communication. If you have the right systems in place, this process can be effortless. As we reflect on the five key points discussed above, you will notice a common theme. They all match a specific message delivery style.
First, let’s debunk the traditional methods of communication, primarily emergency communication. Paper notices are clearly not efficient as this form of communication does not meet the criteria of quick and efficient—emergency notices cannot be delivered in the traditional “letter” style. Moving on to email, while this may seem more immediate, many individuals have specific times when they check their email. Additionally, email tends to be more formal and may contain more filler information, or “fluff” that isn’t needed when communicating pertinent details regarding emergencies or pandemic related info. Many companies, corporations, and even schools or child care centers have turned to automated voice message recordings or automated phone calls. Again, while this may match the emergency communication needs in some ways, we are not quite there as people are generally less inclined to answer their phone or listen to voice messages than previously thought. As many as 76% of calls from an unfamiliar number go unanswered (Meek, 2019).
So, the best way to provide clear, consistent, applicable, honest and most importantly fast communication to child care centers and families during a time of crisis is mass text messaging through StepAhead.
Text messaging provides quick access to critical information in a moment’s notice. Senders are not typically worried about details as they would be with email and are therefore able to get directly to the information at hand.
They are able to cater to specific audiences, ensuring the information is applicable to the recipient. What’s more is that with a quick read in the form of a text message, most recipients won’t delay reading their message.
StepAhead, provides critical two-way communication to child care centers and families in the most efficient way while remaining confident in the safety and security of your communication. You can track data and replies ensuring immediate actions are taken if and when they are needed. You will build trust and a deeper connection with your clients by providing the reassurance that you have taken the extra step to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.
Set your organization apart from the rest and come back even better than before.
Meek, A. (2019, January 29). The spam call epidemic is stopping people from answering their phones. Retrieved July 20, 2020, from https://bgr.com/2019/01/29/smartphone-usage-statistics-new-data/