COVID-19 has caused a crisis unlike any other in our lifetime. The aftermath of this will last for years. Unemployment rate will be high, disposable income will be minimal and businesses will need to rebuild.
Brands that take proactive steps right now to comfort customers, clients, and patients and protect their safety and financial confidence are going to earn very strong reputational benefits during this time.
We are a month into social distancing and shelter at home at the time of this writing. We know that we’ve got at least a couple more months of restrictions. Many schools have already determined to close school until next school year. Let’s say by June 1st, things will start to be clearing up and you are going to be in a position where if you serve and do it appropriately by taking care of your community and customers, you’re going to come out on top. We must keep in mind that this is long-term strategy for when this thing is over.
Be focused on relentless customer focus, more so than ever before! This is all about your customers.
This message is always true but requires your efforts even more now. The fact is, if we don’t put our customer’s needs first, we’re never going to win. Relentless customer focus will help you not only survive, but thrive, during this time.
You may have a lot of questions about how to approach business right now.
Do you continue to market as normal? Do you address the situation at hand? Do you communicate the measures you’re taking as a brand or do you kind of make yourself scarce in the inbox? Do you push off large announcements of new products? How much communication is enough? How much is too much?
There are so many things to consider.
We must show empathy and understanding.
We must be appropriate in all our communications.
It is important to be conscious and conscientious to what is necessary for you to share with your customers. Be very sensitive with the language that you choose in any marketing materials and other things that you are sending out right now.
This is a time to exercise sensitivity and be an encouragement. You don’t want to be seen as taking advantage of the crisis. Appearing flippant and disrespectful will reflect poorly on your business. Make sure that your tone matches the current situation we are facing. Having empathy, and being sensitive to the struggles and the challenges being faced by different people across the ecosystem will show your ability to be a leader in a time of crisis.
Revisiting Your Work
- Automated email sequences and automated email flows: Take a look at those and make sure that that’s appropriate right now. You don’t want marketing messages going out to people that you set up six months ago that are going to go out and potentially do damage.
- Content Calendar: Are your planned topics still appropriate or do you need to rethink your upcoming content?
- Planned initiatives. Right now, you probably had planned initiatives that were going out for your 2020 goals, and while you don’t have to press pause on all the progress that you’ve made, consider how you might shift in terms of launching a product or a new collection of things so that it feels appropriate for people during this time.
- Not exploding people’s inboxes right now is a kindness. Whatever things that you want to be communicating, using social media is a really great way to do that. Speaking your truth, allowing people to understand your heart as a brand goes a long way in deepening connection with your customers and followers. Transparency is everything right now.
Messages to Avoid When Communicating with Customers
- It’s a great time to encourage shoppers to support your business while practicing social distancing and things of that nature, but do it in a humble way, without pressure. People want to support their favorite small businesses and will if they can. Serve them with kindness and value so you remain important to them.
- If you are using a free shipping discount code, avoid using something like “COVID-19” or “coronavirus.” We don’t want you to represent your brand in that way when conveying sensitive subject matter.
- On social media, emails or other marketing material, don’t speak negatively of other businesses and how they are handling the crisis. Stay in your lane. Serve your customers. How you lead during the pandemic will be a testimony to how your run your business.
Now is a fabulous time to highlight the ways that you are giving back. If you’re donating a portion of your proceeds to relief efforts helping your community right now, share it. Encourage others to give as well! If you are acting as a pillar in your community, post about it in a way that focuses on the cause you are serving rather than giving yourself a pat on the back. Use any testimonials you receive, as well. It is a great way to inspire others to get involved!
Think about how you can find little ways to delight your customers. Everybody needs some more joy right now! Think about what can you do to just brighten people’s day… post funny meme’s, share something super silly like a TikTok dance that you did, send handwritten cards to your loyal customers, offer complimentary sessions with you to encourage and support those who need it, or get on Zoom for tea with anyone who wants to joi
Remember, this is about the long-term strategy. What you do now is going to have far, long-lasting repercussions for your brand down the line.
Ask for Feedback
Reach out to your community and ask them what resonates with them. What is the best way to communicate with them right now? Ask them what they want to hear from you.
This is a really great way for you to be able to understand that some people might want frequent updates and communication, and some people might not want that at this point. You could say, “What’s resonating with you? Do you need to take a break? What can we be doing to better serve you?”
You can use your CRM to segment people based upon relevance.
For example, if you are going to continue to send out emails to people, you might want to consider sending to just a VIP list of people who said that they want to hear from you. To the best of your ability, be considerate of people’s wishes.
Think for Yourself
Just because everybody else does things a certain way right now doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing. Right now, it will work best to be nimble, flexible, and communicate in a healthy and appropriate way with the people who are interacting with your brand.
- Brands that take proactive steps right now to comfort customers and protect their safety and financial confidence will earn strong reputational benefits
- Be relentless in customer focus
- Serve, serve, serve, your customers
- Wherever possible, help your community. Let’s tie in ways to be of assistance to people.
If you have any questions regarding these tips for serving your customers in a time of crisis, leave a comment below.
If you’d like to schedule a complimentary call with me to discuss strategy for your business, please use the contact page to submit a form.