Why we won’t be “in this together” much longer

The latest consumer sentiments are grim.

In a recent Harris Poll, consumers indicated their readiness and confidence to re-enter public places, among other things. As an example, the majority say it will be four to six months before they enter a casino again. So how are gaming operators, also hotel leaders and restaurant owners responding? Juxtapositioned with recent communication themes of empathy, compassion, leniency and generosity, it’s time to add reality to the mix.

Right now, we are seeing the best of humanity. We have a common enemy no matter where you live or where your politics lie. And business leaders have never looked more like a superhero than today. According to another poll conducted by Harris, …“91% of those surveyed have improved opinions towards companies that allow customers to forgo payments for up to six months or offer lower interest rates or other programs.” Their rosy evaluations extend to what companies have done to protect employees: 84% think more highly of company executives who forgo salaries, bonuses or other compensation.

The vast majority of businesses shifted into humanity gear weeks ago. Business leaders: your favorability ratings are exceptional. If crisis builds character, you have a solid foundation to work with. Don’t stop now- build upon the goodwill you have banked in recent weeks and continue to do the right thing as you frame your “new” employee value proposition and guest experience.

Below are my thoughts on how you maintain trust as you resdesign operations and prepare to reopen:

REFLECT and REFRESH:

Did your core values guide your communication in recent weeks? Did you maintain relevancy? If yes, great. You stayed true to your brand. If you didn’t, why not? What didn’t feel right? Perhaps it’s time to reflect and revisit your belief system first. Don’t wait, do it NOW.

RESTORE CONSUMER CONFIDENCE:

Americans expect changes. The good news is they are open to giving up privacy for safety with one poll reporting that 84% of Americans saying they are willing to partake in health screenings before they enter a public place.

Start a conversation with your stakeholders about what you are considering. They will appreciate you engaging them in what you are thinking. It’s going to take convincing that your workplace and public places are safe. Share information about how you are easing into the next wave across your channels.

BE A SMALL BUSINESS SAVIOR:

The most devasting news is the impact of the shutdown on small businesses. Estimates are that 40% of small businesses will be done for within a matter of days, if not weeks.

You earned kudos for your empathy and compassion in the midst of the crisis. Consider how and where you can partner with small business in your new operating model. Procurement teams, will you give extra consideration to your smaller providers? Agencies, will you consider bringing along an independent contractor to help jumpstart your new operating model as you gear up?

Get ready.

Can togetherness coexist in some form once we go our separate ways again? Will the marketplace be a kinder and gentler version of its former self? We are about to find out.

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