There’s never been a more important time to stay in contact with your customers. Nearly 20% of the global population is in lockdown, most companies have moved to 100% remote working and many people are just starting to get used to their home office. It’s been a huge shake-up to the way we work and it’s likely to be quite some time until we are back to any form of normality.
Depending on your industry, your customers may be concerned about what happens during the next few months and be looking for reassurance. If you haven’t started already, consider sending out an update on your business, how the team is adapting and highlight any impact on your customers.
Think carefully about which customers or potential customers you want and need to communicate with. Many people have been overwhelmed with emails and messages from companies that they might not have heard from in a long time and then suddenly hear from them again. Rather than coming across as concerned, this can seem inauthentic. Try segmenting your customer lists and reach out to those customers who you’ve actually been in contact with recently.
Messaging and tone that was used or planned weeks ago aren’t likely to be relevant or appropriate today. We know this first-hand. We’ve had to adapt our messaging and content too. Our focus has shifted to helping our customers navigate, adapt and remain successful during the current situation.
Many people are taking on additional responsibilities that they might need support in understanding. The best way you can really know what your customer’s world looks like now is to simply ask them. Break down your customer base by industry and assess what pain points need addressing now. Once you’ve done your research you’re then in a more informed position to start contacting customers and have real conversations about how their industry has changed and what’s proving challenging for them.
Don’t forget to check in with potential customers too. Even if your services might not be needed now you might be thought of when that need does occur.
Every week we’re receiving new information. Consequently, new decisions have to be made. Therefore it’s never been more important to be timely and adaptable.
You probably have newsletters, emails and blog posts planned and feel like it’s a pity to waste all the time and effort that’s gone into their creation. If the content still adds value then go ahead and send or publish it but if not think about how you can update the the message and its tone so that it’s more current.
If your messaging is changing then all teams within your business need to be made aware of this so that your messaging is consistent yet current. Consider working with your customer-facing teams to adapt messaging and then make sure other teams are aware of the changes. Some key areas that might need to be addressed are your website, ads, emails, newsletters and blog and social media posts.
Your messaging and outreach also might need to be adapted to different industries. Some industries have been harder hit than others and you’ll want to adapt your messaging accordingly. For those who have been hit hardest, simple, empathic messages such as “How can we help?” go a long way.
There will be other audiences who might need your services now more than ever. Identify what those are for your business and adapt efforts and budgets.
Staying closer to your customers and your own teams should mean you have a better understanding of what’s relevant. This is key to knowing how much and how often you should be staying in touch. Even if email has always been your preferred method of communication keep in mind that now everyone is resorting to online communication platforms, people have been overwhelmed by their inbox. As part of your review process keep in mind whether a certain email or social media post is adding value to the current conversation.
People are online more now than ever and your budget for communication through online platforms might want to be updated to reflect this. What’s more, even if people don’t need your products or services today - investing in developing content for areas that you own, such as a blog, means that this content can be discovered long-term.
You’re more likely to be memorable too if you can produce content that is helpful and valuable. If you and your team have insights into how your work has changed and what you’re doing to stay motivated and communicate as a team - there’s no doubt that your audience will find this valuable but also this kind of authentic content makes your business relatable.
We’re also seeing more online events and webinars popping up. This is a great way to keep in touch with customers, contribute something valuable but also maintain a social presence even if you’re not physically with your customers.
A knee-jerk reaction might be to stop communicating altogether and let people come to you. This may mean that you don’t post or write anything that’s not relevant, but it also means that your customers are left in the dark and aren’t sure you’ll be around when things go back to normal.
If you don’t know where to start, start with yourself. Nobody expects anyone else to have all the answers right now so the best place to start is with what you do know. Communicate with your customers about how you’re doing, what you’re doing and any advice you have that you’d like to share. Keep an eye on how your blog posts, social media posts and emails are being received and you’ll soon spot which type of messages are resonating with your audience.
The situation that we find ourselves in is a huge change to what we used to consider normal. We’ve not been faced with this situation before so there really is no right or wrong way to respond to it. The only thing that we can all do is to take a moment and recognize that all we can do is to try our best.