I went into Boots to pick up a prescription (nothing serious) and as I was queuing, I spotted a notice about surgical masks. It said they had all been sold out and gave no indication when further stocks would be available. When I asked an assistant if she knew any more, she shrugged her shoulders and told me it was “anyone’s guess”.
She added there had been a huge run on surgical masks ever since news of the Coronavirus broke and manufacturers were struggling to keep up with demand. People had seen lots of images of people in China wearing them and decided they were an absolute ‘must’ in case there was a serious outbreak over here.
Among other things, there has also been panic buying of hand sanitisers, wipes and toilet paper. Go around any supermarket and there are empty shelves where these items would normally be on display. This is despite the government urging everyone to keep calm and – to its credit – issuing clear guidance on how to deal with coronavirus and prevent it spreading.
So, why is this? Are people simply being over cautious and over reacting, egged on by hysterical media reporting, or is there more to it than that?
Loss of trust
It’s been suggested a loss of trust in the authorities in recent years is also to blame. Many people simply don’t believe what they are being told by the government and other public bodies and would rather be guided by their instincts and what they regard as the truth.
There is a lesson here for every company and organisation, no matter how great or small: Be honest in your dealings with one another and show your clients and customers they genuinely matter to you.
If you are less than honest and don’t treat them with respect, you could end up losing their trust and consequently their support, which you obviously do not want.
Over to you chief execs and politicians of all persuasions…