When times are good, it’s easier to stay connected with customers and on top of all the important parts of your business.
However, during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of business owners have been caught up in the chaos.
For a lot of businesses, their primary focus has been to stay afloat, and secondary is maintaining connections and relationships with the customers.
While this short-term thinking can be forgiven, if perpetuated, it could cause a lot of companies to suffer over the long term.
The Importance of Existing Customers
Your existing customers are the most significant source of income and referrals. Without staying connected with those you serve your business can shrink.
Still, most business owners may be wondering how they can actually stay in touch with their customers while confined to their homes. It may seem like if there is nothing to sell them, then what is the point in reaching out.
On the contrary, this is a great opportunity to connect with others on a personal and community level, knowing that this genuine goodwill will also keep your customers ready for a full return to business.
In this article, we will look at four ways to stay connected with your customers during this time of change and uncertainty.
1) Match Your Tone with the Times
To begin with, you must keep in mind the current emotional and mental state of most of your customers and clients.
A lot of business owners are feeling fearful and uncertain in the current climate. There is a lot of stress around people’s health and welfare and a lot of business owners have anxiety around their livelihood. Many people right now are in shock. They are grieving the loss of the life they had only last month. They may even be grieving the loss of loved ones taken by this pandemic, or know someone that has.
When you communicate with your customers, it’s important not to be tone-deaf to these fears and concerns. Focus on empathy and helping. Sometimes just reaching out to ask how they are feeling and what they are doing is enough. By building relationships at difficult times, people will trust you even more. Over time, they will see that your brand and service can again solve a problem or satisfy the needs that they have.
2) Use Video Whenever Possible
Online video chats, live streaming, and video on social media have the most impact when it comes to building trust.
In the past few weeks, with everybody at home, the amount of time spent on video calls and online video has spiked. They are the best possible alternative to connecting and interacting with people in person at this current time.
Now is the time to focus on video for your customer communication. Try to set up a Zoom call, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Whatsapp video or Skype session with clients. The ability to talk face-to-face makes a big difference with geographical distance being no barrier.
3) Transition to Online Services
If you’re a retail or service-based business that usually serves clients one-to-one, consider how you can share your knowledge online in recorded training or a virtual class setting.
There has been a massive increase in online services through virtual classes and meetings. For example, fitness instructors are offering free live stream classes for people to stay healthy at home. Some educational companies have created free homeschooling classes for parents to help keep their kids on track. Many consulting organisations have moved from face to face to online workshops run out of hotel conference rooms to the virtual conference.
You can also set up a Facebook group to keep all your customers connected. If you can’t charge a full fee right now, you can try using PayPal or Patreon to ask your customers to pay what they can afford to support your services.
When it comes to online sales, you can offer home delivery or remote pickup for items that people need. You could also offer bundle deals for products so people can reduce the amount of time they need to be out shopping.
4) Share Helpful Information
If you don’t provide services that can be used during this lockdown period, then you can also shift from selling to simply helping. Most business owners are time-poor and experience being pulled in many directions. The astute business owner and leader will see the opportunity in this period to work on the business while they can’t be fully in it.
Because so many people are at home and online, you can find ways to help them by creating blog articles or videos, or even sharing industry-relevant valuable online information to keep them informed.
For example, you can create information for your clients about how the Australian Government is offering assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. Or something as simple as daily updates of where to buy essential products for home life.
This helpful approach is incredibly valuable at times like this when the whole world is at home and tuned in online.
Rather than simply promote your business, consider how you can help. Think of ways you can give back to the community by providing valuable information via social media, text messages, and emails.
A Crisis Is An Opportunity To Help
Right now, the entire world is looking for safety, stability, and certainty. Any businesses that continue to offer the same services as they have in the past will create a sense of confidence in their customers.
Take this forced time to rethink your business plans, and decide how you can genuinely help your customers, and how your business can rise above the chaos.
The true purpose of any business is to serve others. Now is the time to live up to that purpose and expand your genuine connection with others, something up until now may not have been such a priority.
No one knows what our new reality will look like after this pandemic, but people will remember your compassion, dedication and your integrity during this time and will hopefully be there for you in the same way moving forward.
Stay healthy. Stay positive. Stay in Communication.
Centegrity has over 13 years of experience helping businesses with bookkeeping and business mentoring. If you need assistance don’t hesitate to contact us or fill in the form below.