4 Customer Communication Tips To Help Businesses Survive The Coronavirus Crisis
As the coronavirus ravages the United States, and the world, it’s also impacting thousands of small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Some of you had to close shop, while others had to cancel events, leading to big revenue losses. The coronavirus is hitting close to home for us as well. That’s why we’re gathering these customer communication tips to help businesses get back on their feet. Best of all, these tips require little to no overhead costs.
In times of economic uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to keep your current customers updated about your business operations with effective customer communication strategies. Why? They depend on you for your products and services. Sharing updates with them about your operational efforts during their time of need reassures your customers that you have their best interests in mind.
Take Care Of Your Business’ Advocates!
Happy and satisfied customers are also your brand advocates. These advocates tend to post positive business reviews online while referring new clients via word of mouth.
Why does this matter? In case you didn’t know, referrals from family and friends are one of the most powerful ways to get new customers. According to HubSpot, 81% of customers trust recommendations from family and friends over those from companies. People trust people much more than they trust ads, social media posts and emails. Therefore, we suggest launching a smart yet simple customer communication plan to put these odds in your business’ favor.
Customer Communication Tip #1: Be Proactive
Stay ahead of the pack by keeping your customers informed. Chances are your small business is taking steps to help customers and meet their unique needs. For example, during and after the coronavirus pandemic, how have you adjusted your business operations to meet CDC regulations? Better yet, how are you exceeding government regulations to keep your customers and employees happy and healthy?
Perhaps you launched a more lenient refund program so customers can feel more confident in their purchases. Maybe your restaurant or retail store streamlined its shopping, ordering and delivery services. Did your business enhance work from home capabilities for employees or offer more paid sick days? Are you observing more robust safety and sanitation processes?
Bakery Lorraine, a popular cafe in San Antonio and Austin, Texas, is giving all proceeds from cookie dough sales to staff members who cannot work as a result of the coronavirus.
If you’re taking steps to adapt to this new social and economic environment, you need to communicate them with your customers. These steps demonstrate your commitment to customers and employees, in addition to safeguarding their wellbeing.
A proactive customer communication plan lets your customers know that you really care about them and their needs. Follow this simple process to convey your tactics:
- Begin by writing down all of your tactics. Organize them into digestible parts. Bulleted lists work well here. Avoid jargon and long paragraphs. The goal is to be accessible and understandable.
- Add these measures to a new page on your website. Don’t forget to optimize your copy with a strong keyword to help amplify your search engine optimization efforts and increase organic traffic to your website. Remember, organic search traffic is free. All you need is helpful, well-written content optimized around a non-competitive keyword. Consider revisiting your content marketing strategy to develop blog posts and videos customers want to consume in this new day and age.
- Once you finish building your page, you can reach out to customers through social media and email. Create engaging social media posts highlighting your efforts. You can also send a short email emphasizing your strategic initiatives to streamline your customers’ experience. Make sure to use a short yet strong subject line, and only send your emails to people who signed up to receive them. GDPR compliance is very important.
Customer Communication Tip #2: Be Personable
People crave human connection. Due to quarantines and social distancing, people may feel out of touch. Your brand can still keep in touch with customers and make them feel special.
- Organize a webinar or video calls: Showcase your new products, share helpful business tips or host a happy hour with clients and colleagues alike.
- Personalize your email newsletters: Before you hit “send” on your next email newsletter, consider using personalization tools to greet recipients by their first names. Not only does this make your customers feel special; it can also increase your open rates.
- Pick up the phone: Call your clients and check in on them. Ask them how they’re doing and see if there’s any way you can help them. Kindness goes a long way.
- Send a note: A simple thank you note can make all the difference in someone’s day.
Customer Communication Tip #3: Be Positive
It’s easy to feel down when everyone around us is feeling down, too. That’s why it’s critical for your brand to take on a positive persona. With a multi-platform customer communication and marketing strategy, you can encourage people to replace doubtfulness with optimism. Consider incorporating the following pieces of content into your social media, email marketing and other digital marketing initiatives to increase your happy customer rate:
- Words of Wisdom: Post motivational quotes from industry leaders, writers or yourself!
- Tell a Story: Share inspirational stories from clients. Video testimonials work well here.
- Beauty: Psychology plays a major role in marketing. Amplify your positive content with photos of things that make people feel better, like sunrises, cute animals, flowers and art.
Our team at The Postcard Agency launched a social media campaign to help people use their imaginations and explore new destinations from the comfort and safety of their homes.
Remember, it’s important to be sensitive to your audience’s feelings as well. Don’t post content involving large groups of people. Avoid showcasing luxurious lifestyles and expensive items. Otherwise, your brand will appear to be out of touch and you may offend viewers.
Customer Communication Tip #4: Be Creative
Thinking outside of the box can reap big rewards for you and your business. It gives you a chance to respond to current events in a big way. For example, many customers had to adjust their lifestyles due to the coronavirus’ economic, cultural and social impacts. How is your brand adapting to those changes to better serve your clients? How can you make customers feel happy and more confident in their day-to-day lives?
Let’s take a look at Time Out Miami, a media organization that shares events, attractions and things to do in Miami for locals and visitors alike. It adjusted its name and content approach in response to growing coronavirus concerns. In the spirit of limiting community spread of the coronavirus, Time Out Miami temporarily altered its name to “Time In Miami.”
“We’ll be here reporting on incredible travel opportunities you can look forward to, museums you can visit virtually and ways you can stay connected to your favorite places in the city,” the media group shared on its Instagram post. “Can’t go a day without a pastelito? Stick with us—we’ll tell you how to get your beloved guava pastry at home, plus so much more. It’s the same level of thoughtful curation you’re used to from Time Out, except most of what we’ll be sharing can be experienced in your pajamas. Isn’t that the dream?”
This is a stellar example of a business that remained proactive, and thus relevant, during times that could have otherwise plummeted its business. Chances are your business can adopt a smart approach, too, thanks to the wide variety of technologies available to us. You can then apply the tips mentioned throughout this blog post to develop a marketing and PR campaign communicating your creativity.
Remember: A Happy Customer is a Repeat Customer, Even During The Coronavirus Crisis
Considering the current economic situation, it’s important to focus on helping your current customers. They’re more likely to do repeat business with you and bring new clients your way.
If you need messaging, branding or technical advice from marketing and PR experts, feel free to contact us. We help small businesses and nonprofit organizations develop and execute effective customer communication strategies no matter what comes their way.
Do you run a veteran-owned business? Contact us to learn how to receive 10% off all marketing and public relations services.
About The Postcard Agency
The Postcard Agency connects businesses and nonprofit organizations with their target audiences through dynamic marketing and public relations strategies. Crafty and creative, the San Antonio-based agency reinvigorates local and national brands with imaginative and results-driven campaigns. A winner of the Gold dotCOMM Award for website design, the digital marketing and public relations agency has also been named a Top Marketing Agency and a Top B2B Company and Marketing Agency by Clutch, an acclaimed ratings and reviews platform. Jonathan Ochart, CEO of The Postcard Agency, regularly shares marketing and public relations insights for business leaders with the media, including NBC and Voyage Magazine.