Staying Connected With Customers Is Critical During the COVID-19 Crisis

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staying connected COVID-19

Many companies are finding it hard to maintain sales performance amid the COVID-19 crisis, but the way you communicate with your customers as it unfolds could make or break your business. Here, we explore why it’s critical you stay connected with your customer or client base and how you can make sure you maximise the impact your communications have.

At the moment, the COVID-19 crisis seems to be the only thing on everyone’s minds. But whether you’re managing the outcomes of the coronavirus, a security incident, legal issue, service disruption or natural disaster, you’ll need to keep communication flowing between you and your customers.

Why is staying in touch so important?

A business’ approach to customer relationship management (CRM) should be reviewed in the event of any significant incident, big or small. But the importance of digital marketing during a business crisis is particularly high. Here’s how you’ll protect your company by communicating with customers.

  1. Reassure customers – Depending on the type of business you run, your customers may be concerned, nervous or even upset as a result of the crisis emerging. Use sensitive but self-assured copy to take control of the situation and keep readers calm.
  2. Give customers information – On a practical level, you should be keeping customers up to date with all the details they’ll need to continue using your business. Whether that means introducing helplines, providing information about deliveries or creating new marketing brochures, you can let people know how to stay safe while making purchases.
  3. Learn more about your customers – Although this might not be the first thought that comes to mind during major crises like the COVID-19 outbreak, you could take this opportunity to find out more about your customers’ values and priorities. This may shape how your business operates in the future.
  4. Work towards resolving the issue – Keeping in contact with customers will help ease the introduction of new services. If they’re aware of the changes you’re making and know how to use your latest facilities, your business should be able to develop more smoothly.
  5. Reinforce reputation for competency and professionalism – If you hurriedly produce clumsy marketing statements full of speculations, your customers are likely to lose faith in your business. But by staying calm and presenting information clearly and concisely in your brand’s tone of voice, you can gain your readers’ respect.
  6. Save money – All businesses need to generate money, and maintaining constructive dialogue will help preserve your customer base. Put simply, retaining old customers is far more economical than finding new ones in the future.

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Customer relationship management tips for the COVID-19 crisis – or any other crisis

  • Create a list of people within the business who will take action in specific circumstances. Decide who will be responsible for creating customer communications, and who will review them before they go out. Remember, emails, social media posts and other marketing content should be written by one person to create a sense of consistency.
  • Sit down and create a plan before you get in touch with your customers. What changes will you need to make to your business and how can you best implement them? Will you introduce new resources or services? Once you’ve asked these questions, you can work out what your customers need to know in order to take advantage of them.
  • While you should take the time to compose an effective communications plan, you need to respond to the situation in good time. Don’t leave your loyal customers waiting and wondering whether they can still rely on you. Get in touch as soon as you can, even if only to reassure readers you’re taking appropriate measures.
  • When creating communications, always be transparent. If you try to hide details or include negative statements and blame others, you risk losing the trust of your customers. Also, in times of crisis, more than ever, you should speak as a human rather than an organisation and always write with tact and compassion.
  • Write in your brand voice. You may unsettle readers and damage your brand if you respond to crises in a completely different tone to the one you usually use. The situation may be serious, but your customers probably won’t expect to receive a lengthy formal letter outlining the implications for your business. A short statement conveying an understanding of the circumstances and reassuring readers you’ll continue to operate as long as you can
    will suffice.
  • Post updates on social media. Even if you suspect your target demographic doesn’t use social media all that often, taking this proactive approach will help you reach more people. By publishing regular updates, you’ll show customers you’ve got the situation under control and restore confidence in your business. Also, creating social media posts is a much more tactful way of keeping people informed, as opposed to bombarding their email inboxes day and night.

Examples of great customer communications during the COVID-19 crisis

To give you inspiration, here are three examples of fantastic COVID-19 customer communications:

On behalf of her fashion retail business, Draper James, Reese Witherspoon announced the launch of her new spring collection with sensitivity:

“…At Draper James, we always try to bring you a little bit of happiness and positivity with our designs. That said, we have designed a beautiful spring collection that we still would love to show you. So, I hope it’s okay to share some pictures and stories that we have created for you all…”

Meanwhile, bartending service Host anticipated the many marketing emails their customers would be receiving, and reminded them of their business in a different way:

“At this point, you’ve gotten a hundred COVID-19 emails and many of you are working from home. During this anxious time, we thought you could probably use a drink (or two). Until the world returns to normal, we’ll be providing you with a “Drink of the Week” to help make self-quarantine time go by a little easier…”

Clothing store Reformation took a different approach. In order to avoid causing offence or making inappropriate statements, it asked customers:

“…What’s resonating with you? Do you still want to hear about new collection launches and sustainability related stuff? Or do you need a break? Please let us know…”

Find out more

You can read more about managing the COVID-19 crisis as a business owner in our coronavirus series. Click on the links below to find out more.

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