The Importance of Marketing for the Healthcare industry in the time of COVID-19
In a crisis situation such as the COVID-19 outbreak, effective communication strategies are crucial.
Given the rapid spread of the virus, timely and consistent information must be distributed internally for staff and externally for patients and the general public.
For staff, regular communication is necessary as it will help foster a positive working relationship, which will consequently improve efficiency and morale. Conversely, external stakeholders are relying on your communication for guidance on how to protect their health and wellbeing.
Communicating with employees:
The COVID-19 outbreak is placing extreme strain on most industries, especially the healthcare sector. Employees are your most important asset and act as ambassadors to the general public, so if your message isn’t clearly conveyed to your own employees, communication to the community will be even more challenging. Further, it is the company’s responsibility to put employee’s minds at ease during this stressful period, by providing frequent, clear and hopeful messages.
For effective communication with employees, business in the health sector should:
- Communicate information in a location that is accessible and visible by all employees. In a healthcare environment, this may include noticeboards, reception desks, or even virtual locations such as online social-media groups.
- Explain why certain decisions were made, to demystify the situation and provide clarity for employees.
- Ensure regular and consistent communication to put your employees’ minds at ease and reduce anxiety.
- Since information and guidelines are constantly being released by government agencies, communicate them to your staff in a timely manner rather than waiting for the next release.
Communicating with patients and the general public:
External stakeholders such as patients and the general public rely on communication from the healthcare sector for guidelines and advice on how to cope during the outbreak. In contrast to employees, companies do not have the same access of communication with this group. It is crucial that the community are aware of what healthcare services and facilities are available to them and therefore effective communication must be ensured. The following tips can help ensure your messages are conveyed to the public successfully:
- Develop a plan: Having a response plan in place will allow for prompt messaging to the general public. For example, developing messages based on new government guidelines should be a part of your plan. Automating these messages may be appropriate, as you will be able to get your messages out as early as possible to keep your customers up-to-date.
- Reveal as much information as possible: It is important to observe the crisis from the perspective of the customer. With the great uncertainty brought about by the current COVID-19 outbreak, it is easy for individuals to experience great anxiety and frustration. As a result, it is important for your company to communicate as much information as possible, rather than leaving the community in limbo.
- Cease non-essential communication: Press releases, irrelevant e-mails or community news should be paused until things calm down. Your important messages would otherwise be lost within all the other announcements. Save this content for when the outbreak is controlled, so consumers have more time to engage with it.
The implementation of an effective communication strategy during the current COVID-19 outbreak is necessary for your business; not only for your employees, but the public as a whole. It is the company’s responsibility to put employee’s minds at ease during this stressful period, by providing frequent, clear and hopeful messages. Similarly, it is crucial that the community are aware of what healthcare services and facilities are available to them and therefore constructive communication must be ensured.