This article originally appeared on LinkedIn. Follow me on LinkedIn to join the conversation.
The recent floods in Texas and IRMA beating down on the Carribean have dominated the news. Stories of strength and persistence give us hope, while tales of loss make us grateful. Even from far away I am touched by the grand gestures many businesses are making to help those most in need. Like this from my friend Dan Briscoe and his team at HCSS or Amazon who made it easy for The Marketing Advisory Network to donate money to support the American Red Cross efforts on the ground.
Volunteering time and making donations is just one of the ways your business can help. I’ve put together a list of easy things any business can do to support a community in their time of need.
Extend payment terms – Remove financial concerns by notifying customers in impacted zones that payment terms have been extended for an extra 30 or 60 days without penalty for any invoice outstanding. The bottom line impact is tiny compared to the gesture of good will.
Pause your promotional communications – I promise you the last thing on the minds of residents crushed by flooding is your web seminar. Pause promotional communications for at least two weeks following an emergency situation.
Place impacted contacts on your sales do not call list temporarily – Temporarily place contacts in impacted areas on your sales do not call list to avoid causing frustration. This is not the time to “take advantage” of fear and uncertainty.
Proactively communicate about shipping/delivery delays – Your customers may be affected by the emergency even if they are outside of the impact zone.
Don’t raise prices – Airlines are coming under fire for dramatic price hikes in the wake of IRMA predictions. The internet is not happy and responding with ire towards airline brands. Except for JetBlue who capped fares leaving Florida at $99 and is winning hearts across the country. Any short term revenue you gain from price spikes will be offset by a long term hit to your reputation.
It’s not only right to respond when your customers need you, it’s good business.