How Local Businesses Should Be Communicating with Customers during COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has affected the majority of the world’s population. Millions of people were forced to stay at home due to complete lockdowns introduced by governments across the globe. The whole situation has impacted not only ordinary people but also businesses that had to close down for several weeks.
In today’s extraordinary times, communication between the customer and the company is crucial. However, how can you keep it going if you have no way of coming into physical contact with your clientele? Well, there are several other ways in which you can do it. Want to find out more about it? Keep reading then.
Use Your Website
A great way of communicating with your customers is your website. If you don’t have one, then you should definitely consider setting one up. Not only will it help you communicate with your customers, but it can also help you grow, reach new audiences, and improve your revenue.
According to experts from The Search Initiative, ‘97% of users search online for a local service’. What’s more, 46% of Google Searches include local intent. There are other incredible statistics that will probably blow your mind (you can read more about here – https://thesearchinitiative.com/local-seo); however, that’s not the point. The point is that today, a website is a crucial element of any business.
The current situation affects both the customers and the business, which is why keeping them updated on your company’s blog is always a good idea. Your customers should feel that they are not alone – here are some tips on how you can achieve that:
- Don’t act as if everything is normal – it’s not; we are currently in a situation we have not faced before, or at least not at this scale, which is why you should address the issue head-on.
- Don’t keep your marketing as it was before – your marketing needs to keep up with the situation. A perfect example is the commercial of one of the car companies in Canada, where they said, “This is where we normally would show you our great new models, but instead we want to thank the doctors and nurses for……”
- Be careful how you use humor – when it comes to situations like these, you always need to be careful when using humor. While you probably don’t want to appear as depressing or dark, you need to remember that some of your recipients have loved ones who are of the highest risk, sick, or they have already lost them.
- Give hope – aim to create positive energy by giving your customers hope it is eventually going to get better.
Be Creative With Your E-mails
Remember – if you have the e-mail addresses of your customers, put them to use. However, do it only when you actually have something relevant to say. Otherwise, you might turn into a meme!
Also, consider getting creative with e-mail. The truth is that a whole page of dry e-mail, only filled with facts and previously established sentences is probably the last thing your customers need now.
A great way to communicate with your customers during these times is to send them a simple e-mail, asking how they are doing and whether they are keeping safe. Not only is it a nice gesture, but it will also show your customers that you care about them, and not only about their wallets.
This brings us to a very important point – don’t use COVID-19 as a marketing opportunity. Remember – trying to profit during the pandemic is okay. However, trying to profit from it is not.
Create and Curate More Resources
Since the situation is constantly changing, you have to keep your social media feeds up to date. Be honest about whether you are able to serve your customers the way you did before the pandemic. If your customers have problems with payments, try to be more flexible – especially now during the crisis when thousands of people have lost their jobs.
The pandemic affects not only you but all the businesses in your industry, so try to be slightly more empathetic – if you have some tips that might help other small businesses survive this difficult time, share them. Some business owners go as far as creating separate Facebook pages just to share with others some tips on how to cope and expand, even in today’s world.
You can also use your website or your social media feed as a knowledge hub – a place where they could come in case of any doubts or just to learn something new.
Try to Incorporate Offline Messaging
If you go around the town, you might notice that some of the owners who had to close their businesses, for the time being, have placed some kind of notice on the door, usually with their phone number, and a short message, that if the customers need anything, they can always get in touch with them.
This can be a great way of showing customers that you are still within their reach despite the situation. However, if you usually receive high call volume, it might backfire, as you will probably have to put some customers on hold, which is not seen as the best practice.
That’s why you should consider placing your website on the notice – that way, you will be able to address their issues without the need to put them on hold.
The Bottom Line
The current COVID-19 pandemic has affected the majority of the world’s population. People had to stay home and could only go out in necessary situations, such as work or grocery shopping. Many businesses either closed completely or started working remotely. Schools had to switch to online learning.
All in all, coronavirus has affected almost all industries.
That’s why, as a business owner, you need to understand that knowing how to communicate with customers is crucial – especially if it’s a local business. However, as long as you know what you should be doing, you should be just fine.
While we encourage you to incorporate some of the things we mentioned in your business, the final decision is always up to you. Good luck!