It’s a truism of business that organizations that add the most value for their clients and other stakeholders tend to thrive. But when it came to a once-in-a-century pandemic, all bets were off for us in the early going. After all, there was no playbook for how to respond to a global pandemic sitting around on our shelf. So we decided to make one up as we went.
We knew a few things from the start, and they guided us along the way.
We knew that no one should be left in the dark about the pandemic, which would only cause anxiety and perhaps even panic. We knew we couldn’t just wait to see what others were doing, but that we’d have to be proactive and decisive ourselves. Finally, we knew this situation was dynamic and ever-changing, so we’d have to continually adapt, learn and quickly react to the changes happening all around us.
A Calming Influence
We began with some internal dialogue, taking note of the major issues our colleagues were hearing from their clients and contacts. Then we proceeded to initiate timely, informative updates internally and with our clients.
But we were also careful not to inundate our community with too much information. We focused on providing the right information at the proper intervals—not too often, but regularly. Our goal was and has been to be a calming presence in the storm.
Toward that end, we quickly developed a COVID-19-specific section on our website, full of regularly updated information and resources for our clients and prospects.
Next, we began hosting virtual group strategy meetings for clients and conducted virtual enrollment meetings for clients and their employees, so that this crucial educational component wasn’t forgotten during the upheavals. We wanted our clients to send the message to their people that they wouldn’t be forgotten during the pandemic.
It’s Not Just About Insurance
Perhaps most importantly, we recognized early on that we had to be a helpful resource not just for insurance matters. With that in mind, we became familiar with the ins and outs of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which provided businesses with crucial bridge financing to stabilize balance sheets decimated by the pandemic. And then we helped with introductions to bankers who could assist clients in applying for that financing.
One key principal underlying all of our COVID-19 outreach was that one size doesn’t fit all. We customized our support for each client based on their size, industry and particular needs. As with anything else, some clients required more hand-holding than others. And we were closely attuned to whether they preferred to stay in touch by email, text or phone calls. It was all up to them.
In the end, all of these activities didn’t merely result in retaining clients. I believe we actually strengthened our client relationships, by going above and beyond their expectations in becoming a key external resource in an historically difficult period. In a time of unprecedented stress and anxiety, we learned that strong organizations embrace difficulty and overcome their own fears to help their clients succeed.
Please reach out to any of our experts to see how we may help you strengthen your organization during this pandemic.