Communicating a product or service shutdown gracefully?

Media Relations
shut down pr 03.04.19

There could be many reasons why your business is shutting down a particular product or service – from monetary loss to product feasibility to changing business focus. However, even if you have solid reason, bidding adieu can be difficult. To make the process easier, here are some insights into the best way to handle internal and external communications in such circumstances:

Plan ahead

Proper planning ahead of time can make the process much easier on you, your employees and your customers. Adopt an approach that takes into consideration everyone who will be affected by the shutdown. Create a detailed communications strategy so that your message is aligned and consistent throughout all channels

Get a team together

Getting a team of people from different departments, including HR, PR, legal and finance, to work together and collaborate to effectively manage the closure of the shutdown. With everyone working together and on the same page, it’ll make the process much smoother and effective.

Notify employees ahead of time

Don’t keep things under the rug for too long, otherwise employees might be hearing about the closure from other sources, which is not a good look. Give them as much notice as possible, and communicate the information with clarity and empathy. Be clear about how it will affect them and how you can assist with the next steps.

Be open, honest and consistent in your communication

If you’re not communicating to your audience then someone else will be. Rumors, as the saying goes, can spread like fire, and as a result can create problems for your business. But if you are the one providing consistent, clear and honest information, you will also be the one in control of the communication that reaches the public. News should be coming from the company and not from outsiders.

Constant leadership involvement

The leadership team should be constantly involved in the process. Announcements and news should be coming from the leaders of the organisation and the heads of the business unit. Leaders of the unit that is closing down should be actively involved in the process, as they will be the ones having to communicate and interact with the affected employees.

Provide reassurance to customers

The shutdown of product or service can have a negative impact on customers. Have a plan in place to make sure they’re taken care of, and communicate that plan to them clearly. Provide dates of when the product or service won’t be available anymore and allow for the completion of any transactions or the use of any gift cards or loyalty points.

Express emotion

Closing a product or service can be difficult emotionally as well. Sometimes, it means admitting defeat and failure. Being able to that gracefully and truthfully is an important. Be honest to yourself, learn from your mistakes and move on to the next challenge with grace. While being emotional is not always the best way to run a business, during times like this, it’s important to be human and authentic.

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