With so much uncertainty around what we can and can’t do, effective communication with your customers is essential right now. For those lucky enough to be able to keep themselves at home with the right provisions and technology, it’s a shift in the norm. There’s been a fundamental change in what people are comfortable with as the ways of doing business have been totally redefined.
This is an overwhelming period of fears and uncertainties for many as we now live in, wait for it… unprecedented times. Whilst you are probably sick of hearing that term, it doesn’t diminish from how ‘normal’ as we know it, for now, has changed how we can do business.
If you are one of the fortunate ones at home reading this article, you’re probably looking for strategies and approaches to ensure your small business stays afloat throughout this pandemic.
One of the few things we still hold control of is how we communicate with our customers. In a time when privileges have been exposed and things we took for granted have been stripped away, it is important that the worries that your customers are going through are understood and that your business doesn’t come off as unsympathetic or exploitative. This is a sure way to guarantee the damaging of your brand reputation, as well as turning off your audience from any future messaging.
If you are one of those looking for a way to effectively communicate with your customers in a way that doesn’t contribute to their fears and worries, then take a look at these 4 key points:
1. Tackle it head on
Creating a public statement that communicates directly to your customer is vital, not only so they feel they’ve being personally addressed, but perhaps more importantly invite a small sense of normality into their lives. Hearing from brands we know of and have engaged with regularly can be reassuring, even if the message is an anomaly amidst ‘usual service’.
Once you have clarified where your business stands in regards to how you will carry out your services (if you are allowed) the next step is communicating these messages with something that is referred to as crisis communication.
Making using of social platforms to implement these messages, as a small business, helps to instil the trust you’ve built up with your customers. It also brings in a human element to your brand, which leads to a sense of collective grief, as both you and your customers’ alike experience a loss of ‘the norm’ and are going through this journey together.
Whilst every post doesn’t have to directly highlight COVID-19, having content that is created with the current climate in mind is a must.
2. What do your customers want?
With a change in how we conduct our daily lives there comes with it a shift in our needs and wants. As a small business it’s up to you to offer support and reassurance and with it to embrace the British ethos of motoring through.
By simply asking your customers what they want to see from you, it can ensure that you aren’t pushing messages onto your audience that don’t resonate with them and highlights your business as sympathetic and transparent.
3. Content must have value
Putting out content that is genuinely helpful and soothes some of the pain points your customers are experiencing helps keep you in the mind of your customer. Create lists of useful resources, the changes you’ve made to help keep them safe and make their buying experience with you as simple as possible. This all helps generate positive messaging to promote your brand and leave your customer feeling reassured.
Make sure that you are not overly pushy with your offerings. Amend your messaging so you are only providing content that has real-life value, carefully balancing addressing pain points that won’t contribute further to the anxiety that is associated with them.
4. Transparency is key
In times of uncertainty, forming that connection of reality and demonstrating to your customers you are doing everything in your power to keep life as ‘normal’ as possible, ensures your business is seen as transparent and authentic.
Social media is often the first port of call for people when a situation or event occurs. Reaching them on this platform with honest updates about your products and services or changes in how you are conducting business, is how you can instil transparency with your audience.
Keeping your customers up-to-date on opening hours and changes or amendments to services to support their current needs is essential.
The most important is to make sure that above all else – you thank your customers!
Gratitude for their ongoing support in times when there could be fear attached to visiting your premises (if that is relevant) is vital to incentivise their return. The fact they are choosing to support your business during a time when so many jobs hang in the balance, is the biggest glowing reference for your business that you just cannot afford to ignore!