How to Adapt Your Customer Communications During the COVID-19 Crisis
Plus 2 New Digital Customer Communications Vehicles You May Not Have Considered
After just two months, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent mandatory business shutdown has caused many small businesses to reevaluate their future, even though approximately 70% of California’s economy is now allowed to reopen.
Small business owners in San Diego and around the country have been faced with some tough questions, some of those regarding customer communication.
In this article we’ll take a look at how small businesses can adapt their marketing messaging as well as look at two digital communications options you may not have considered for your small business.
How do consumers feel about COVID-19 mentions in marketing messages?
At this point, you’ve probably received numerous emails from businesses addressing their COVID-19 response. As small business owners we usually only want to share good news with your customers. But as California starts to reopen, is it now time to remove COVID-19 mentions from your customer communications?
We may all be tired of hearing COVID- 19 marketing messages, but looking at research conducted by Element-R Partners we see that 61% of people surveyed found “business as usual” emails annoying or highly annoying during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another survey by Adtaxi revealed the 68% of people found ads that showed regard for the current scenario helpful.
Knowing this, it’s better to not shy away from the current situation and instead attack it head on. Posts on social media, email newsletter, website blogs and other customer communications will create trust if formulated honestly, even if we all want COVID-19 to just go away!
- Be aware of your words.
Before composing new messaging, and when auditing old, get comfortable with new meaning certain works may have taken on during this crisis. Commentary including words like “curve,”
“viral,” “spread” and others may need to be replaced or adjusted to better fit our current situation.
Assess the relevance of this for your business, but by addressing actions that can no longer take place in person with words like “virtual” or “digital” you’ll be working to build a new customer comfort level with online business interactions.
Also adding cautionary phrases like “according to our state’s recommendations” and “when possible and safe to do so” you will again build greater trust by showing your commitment to a safe and carefully planned reopening.
Does this also apply to image and video content?
Yes, imagery should also be evaluated and confirmed to be sensitive and situationally aware as well. Make sure to take a look at both scheduled content as well as past content.
In a very short time, the phrase ‘social distancing’ has become widely understood and is beginning to be more appreciated as part of our new reality. Images of large groups not observing social distancing, when possible, should be replaced. The same goes for in-person meetings. Consider using imagery or video of individuals on the phone or using online video conferencing if this type of interaction is the new norm for your business.
When your customers are able to visually understand what this new reality means to you and your business, you will create a comfort level similar to what made them your customers in the first place.
Welcome your customers back with honesty and transparency and they will trust you are taking the proper precautions for a save return to business.
So what’s the bottomline?
The bottom line is, keep your customers informed when it’s information that’s important to them. Reopening procedures and new processes for business operations and customer interactions are important. Blasting your email list with general information about the crisis that’s not relevant to your business may lose you followers.
Whenever possible, convinceandconver.com suggests you make your communications personalised and ask questions like “How’re you doing?” and “Is everyone well?” This type of communication shows you care enough to check in. Your business is an extension of you as a person. Show you care and your customers will stay with you through this crisis and the next.
Now here’s a little extra!
Show you really care by providing new digital methods for customers to get in touch and for you to share important information. Here are two digital marketing methods that you may not have considered, which can have a huge impact on customer retention and new customer conversion rates.
As customers continue to move away from the noise of email, Facebook Messenger is quickly becoming one of the most important marketing channels available. Why should you be using Messenger to communicate with customers? Here are just a few quick reasons…
- Messenger is like texting, but without the cost
- Messenger allows for users to make calls
- Messenger chat has substantially higher open rates vs. email
- Messenger is much more personal than email
Facebook has just released a new way to automatically stay in touch with customers called “One-Time Notifications.” This new feature allows for a Free one time notification to be sent to messenger contacts. These messages are suggested for the list of events below and are Free, which is not the case for most of the Facebook platforms.
- Discount alert
- Birthday greetings
- Purchase/Deadline reminders
- Product feedback surveys
- New product variants
- Waiting lists
- Company news, updates in XY category
- Industry updates
- New Case Study notification
- New Video notification
- FB live notification
Website Live Chat
Many support staff are still working from home. Additionally, more customers are looking for ways to connect with your business digitally. Adding a live chat box like Olark to your website is a great way to adapt your website for better customer communication.
Olark is a WordPress live chat plugin that allows for chat reports, records chat history, automated chats during non-working hours, and it also integrates with your CMR! On top of providing a new digital form of customer communication for your business, Olark also offers 20 free chats a month making it very easy and cost effective to get started.