In light of recent events, businesses have experienced a great deal of change, sometimes even on a day-to-day basis. So much change can make things confusing, both for you as you navigate your new work environment, and for your customers as they adapt to the reality of life under lockdown. During this pandemic—and in any crisis—it’s critical to stay in touch with your customers to help ease uncertainty and let them know you are there for them. Checking in with customers not only makes them feel safe, but when this time period is over, your brand will be remembered for the kindness shared. The key is communication.
Good communication begins with your messaging and the way you present yourself to your customers. Rather than pushing sales, now is the time to be compassionate and share what your company has done to make life easier, as well as what customers can expect when they do business with you. The key is to help your customers feel comfortable and in the loop. Depending on your business, this could include sharing action plans like curbside pickup and delivery, promoting online retail, or even just focusing on the relationship between you and your customers. For businesses and organizations in need of assistance to stay afloat, don’t be afraid to encourage donations and genuinely ask for help. More than any time within recent memory, people are genuinely on the same side and want to help out where they can. However, it’s not enough to position yourself well. More than just the message, you’ll also need a medium.
- Social media – Being active on social media can be an incredibly effective way to communicate with clients and customers. Especially now when so many people are on their phones or at their computer at home, social media represents the front line of interaction with your audience, and is often the first place where customers will look for updates on hours, processes, and business conditions. More than this, social media also gives people the opportunity to interact with you directly and ask for any information they need. However, not every business has the time and energy to handle social media full-time. This can be lightened by use of tactics like editorial calendars and third-party scheduling apps, as well as the chatbots available on Facebook and Twitter. Even still, we recommend checking your messages at least daily and trying to post on a regular basis to keep your customers in the loop.
- Emails – It’s likely you’ve received one, if not many COVID-19 email updates from businesses you interact with. Email is a great way to reach past customers, vendors, and other contacts you’ve gathered who may not actively follow your business on social media. If you don’t have a way of actively building your email lists, now is the time to look into adding a sign up form to your website or using a social media promotion to increase email subscribers. Turn your business updates into an email newsletter, and communicate on a weekly or biweekly basis to share any changes, offer advice, encourage online sales, or just see if anyone needs help.
- Phone calls – Going back to an old school method of communication can be a win for businesses, and may be especially important if your audience is less active online or located in rural areas. Phone calls are a great way to speak to your customers directly, building stronger relationships, trust, and loyalty. Use the opportunity to uncover needs by asking questions about what is happening in their lives and how your business can help. The more genuine your tone, the more customers will open up about current challenges. This valuable insight gives a “face to face” chance to offer immediate solutions to those challenges. As you listen to customers, help them understand what your business is doing during this time and ask for feedback on ways you can improve their customer experience. A phone call may be the conversation starter needed to really understand the customer’s current needs.
We are all learning to cope with the “new normal” in business and in life. Keep this in mind when crafting your messages by remembering to keep a friendly tone, be transparent about what is happening, and how you can help make life a little easier. If you are feeling overwhelmed, remember the Pulse team is here for you. Reach out to us any time, or visit pulsecares.org for free resources and support.
For additional community resources check out our 7 ways to show “local love” blog.