COVID-19 Communications: The LeagueApps Partner Toolkit
By Jamie Hancock
March 27, 2020
During these uncertain times, the most important thing you can do to maintain business continuity is develop strong lines of communication with your customers and community. This is especially important when it comes to handling requests for refunds and managing your payment plans.
We put together this toolkit to help you share the right messages in the most effective manner possible—and build relationships along the way. Read on for tips, templates, and best practices from our team and be sure to reach out with questions to email@example.com.
PART I: TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION
Tip #1: Be proactive
If you’ve been waiting for customers to reach out about refunds—and crossing your fingers that they wouldn’t—now is the time to change that. You want to communicate with them before they bring a problem to you.
Tip #2: Be transparent
Let your players and parents know that the money they paid in advance for this season’s programming is helping you support your staff and coaches who rely on their paycheck, pay rental fees for your facilities, cover sunk uniform and equipment costs, and ensure that your programs will still be here when all this is over. Don’t be afraid to let them know what your organization will look like if you’re unable to hold onto these funds that you were counting on.
Tip #3: Build goodwill
Credits and gift cards that can be used towards future programs are a great way to show your customers that you appreciate them. If they ask for refunds, propose these options instead—you might be surprised to find that people are willing to be flexible. Gift cards and credits are easy to manage in LeagueApps and can keep all of your payment records in one place.
Tip #4: Know your audience
Think about the most effective way to communicate with your customers. How would they react to a one-on-one video call via FaceTime or Zoom? Are they used to hearing from you via email? What about text? And remember, message matters. While a simple check-in might make sense via text, a conversation about payments probably feels more appropriate in an email or on a call.
Tip #5: Get them involved
The more you involve your customers, the more likely they are to be invested in the ongoing success of your club, league, camp, or tournament. Invite them to a virtual brainstorm as you come up with ideas for virtual training and programming. (Or, create a quick survey using a tool like Typeform, Survey Monkey, or Google Forms.) Ask them how they’d feel about an esports tournament or league, or if they’d be interested in attending a virtual gala or fundraiser. Help them understand that these initiatives will help you stay in business and continue providing the sports programs they love.
PART II: THE TEMPLATES
Customer Email #1: Generic
Here is an email template that you can edit and send to your parents or players, requesting their support during this time.
Customer Email #2: Payment Plans and Invoices
Here is an email template that you can send to your parents or players if you’re planning to collect payment in the coming days.
PART III: BEST PRACTICES
Here are a few things to keep in mind when communicating via email, text, and social media.
Your customers have a lot of COVID-19 emails in their inbox right now. It’s important that you stand out amidst all the noise.
- Your subject line should tell people what to expect. The shorter, the better. (For example: if you’re emailing about payment plans, you could try: “A note about your upcoming payment.”)
- Successful emails ask the reader to take a single action. Keep your message clear and concise. (For example: if you’re sharing a link to your GoFundMe fundraiser, let that be the only link you include.)
If you haven’t already, now is the time to establish a social media presence and build your brand. This is an easy way to connect with your customers and community—the more you humanize your organization, the more likely they will be to support you. A few things to keep in mind:
- Include photos in every post on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. If possible, share photos of your coaches and players.
- Tell stories. Use this time to share testimonials and profile your players and coaches—you can quote them, share their backgrounds, and talk about what brought them to your organization.
LevelUp Long Island has done a great job of spotlighting their community on Facebook during this time. What makes the below post effective?
- Use of hashtags: this allows followers to easily view every post in a given series.
- High quality photos (if you have more than one, you can create a photo carousel like they have)
- Emotional storytelling: they’re talking about Dylan as a whole person and not just an athlete
Our hope is that these communication strategies can help you navigate this uncertain time with the support of your customers. Remember, now is the time to be proactive (reach out first!), to share your brand’s mission and purpose, tell heartfelt stories about your community, and to remind your customers that you’re depending on their support to keep your program afloat. When COVID-19 is in our rearview mirror, you’ll be able to continue delivering amazing sports experiences to your players—but only with their help.