Keeping the lines of communication open in the age of COVID-19.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has placed the world into a state of arrest. Whatever your niche or sector, as a small or medium-sized business owner, you’re bound to feel the strain.
But we do live in the digital age—a time where keeping in touch with your customers from afar is easy, and the options are plentiful.
By maintaining a regular line of contact with your customers and making it simple for them to get in touch with you, you will be able to carry on trading while managing consumer expectations, building bonds, and offering guidance in these uncertain times.
Right now, focusing on the needs of your customers is essential. Here are the measures you should take to maintain an open line of communication during the COVID-19 pandemic and preserve the success of your business.
Despite the rise of social media and online chat, email is still one of the most popular mediums for customer contact. In fact, 73% of people favor email communications from brands and businesses above all other forms of correspondence.
Well-crafted, well-written emails will give your customers a glimpse into your current trading status, plans, COVID-19 strategies, and any other essential information that you believe will offer assurance or personal value.
Focus on providing frequent updates and ensuring your tone is conversational. Try to write as you would speak while avoiding slang and let your customers reply directly to your communications to encourage conversation.
Social media contact
In times of hardship, people from all walks of life take to social media to access essential information while connecting with peers. As a business, you should remain as active as possible on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Get active on your most engaged social media channels, making it clear to your clients, customers, and partners that you’re here to help and listen.
Extend a hand to your customers by asking them how they’re feeling while creating content that highlights the measures you’re taking to help or offer your services during the pandemic.
Innovative beer brand BrewDog, for instance, recently shared content with its Instagram audience updating them on its free hand sanitizer initiative, using each post as a platform to connect and converse with customers.
By listening on social media platforms and sparking up conversations where appropriate, you will be able to maintain meaningful content with your customers. Consider launching community groups on Facebook, getting creative with your Instagram posts, and setting up Twitter polls.
Additional phone support
Even in the digital age, people like to use the phone. During these times of social isolation, consumers could benefit from hearing a reassuring human voice—so give it to them.
Even if your business is closed formally, setting up an additional phone line to which incoming calls can be diverted will allow you to offer your consumers a conversational lifeline where you can share vital updates and walk through issues, queries, or concerns.
These extra personal measures will help you boost brand loyalty levels by making your customers feel valued.
Eighty-one percent of consumers report a high satisfaction and resolution rate from live or online chat, making it one of the most popular customer service mediums of the modern age.
The recent surge in home working lends itself to the online chat format. If people are working from home and want to ask a question or resolve an issue, online is likely to be their preferred method of contact as they can converse between tasks. You should invest in your online chat service as soon as possible.
The best thing about online chat is the fact that it’s easy to set up a service with chatbots at the frontline. Chatbots are AI-powered and can respond to a number of requests conversationally, passing on more complex requests to human operatives. This, in turn, will increase your service output.
By advertising your online chat service through other touchpoints, including email and social media, you will drive more traffic to your website while remaining connected with your customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Online forums are often overlooked by small to medium-sized business owners, but they are an excellent means of sharing opinions while sourcing practical answers to a wealth of curiosities.
Akin to your social media channels, by tapping into relevant forums and joining the conversation, you will be able to deliver valuable information to your target audience while answering a host of COVID-19-related questions.
Both Quora and Reddit are excellent forums for tapping into different conversations surrounding your niche.
Booking and scheduling forms
To help customers navigate their interactions with your brand during the outbreak, you should set up a COVID-19 landing page that features an update on your situation, a message of reassurance, and links to a dedicated online contact and call scheduling form.
In addition to a dedicated landing page and scheduling forms, setting up a comprehensive coronavirus FAQ section or knowledge base on your website will give your customers direct access to valuable information without the need to connect with a service representative.
Given the fact that 75% of customers believe that waiting two minutes to connect with an agent is too long, FAQ pages or knowledge bases make a powerful form of communication as they give people instant access to key information.
To inspire your coronavirus FAQ page efforts, here are three great examples you should explore:
- Project management platform Asana’s knowledge base.
- Nintendo’s simple, functional, and inviting FAQ page.
- WTop News’ direct and useful coronavirus-based FAQ section.
Webinar and video content
Today’s consumers love video content. In fact, 85% of online consumers in the US regularly watch video content via their mobile devices. By offering frequent video updates—both live and prerecorded—through your website or a YouTube channel, you will increase engagement while showing your customers that your finger is on the pulse.
When it comes to video content, there is endless scope to be interesting, provocative, creative, or funny. Our branded video guide will give you the ideas you need to get started.
Also, if you want to connect with your customers in real-time while offering insider information or even a little education based on your niche (a welcome distraction from COVID-19), live videos can help drive engagement while offering your audience an extra level of value in these difficult times.
This comprehensive list of coronavirus-related webinars will give you all of the inspiration you need to launch your own informational webinar or video event.
“Good customer service costs less than bad customer service.”—Sally Gronow
At this point, it’s impossible to say how long these uncertain times will last. But regardless of your niche or sector, remaining focused on your customer communications is one of the most valuable strategic moves you can make.
Whether your business lives solely online, or you’re a brick and mortar retailer, your customers are your lifeblood. If you make keeping in contact with your brand as easy as possible by offering a range of seamless communicative touchpoints, you will help to maintain loyalty during this period of prolonged isolation.
Provide value, offer reassurance, stay connected, ensure that you keep your brand at the forefront of your customers’ conscious—and you will come out of the other side on top.
Every single piece of your coronavirus-related communication should be clear, concise, and consistent across every channel. Rather than focusing on profiteering or making a quick buck, strive to offer value as it will benefit your business in the long run.
We know that running a business during the coronavirus outbreak is as challenging as it is unsettling, but we’re here for you. If you have any questions concerning our COVID-19 activities or how to maximize your business success in these uncertain times, please get in touch with us. We’ll be happy to answer any questions.