Maintain Smooth Business Operations as COVID-19 Drags On by Mastering Customer Communication
Recently, we discussed on this blog how 2021 business success really hinges on hard work and a commitment to doing things differently. And doing things differently includes your approach to customer communication.
Making Business Adjustments to Accommodate COVID-19 Restrictions
As a result of local and state mandates, businesses have had to make adjustments that change the customer experience but don’t necessarily hinder the ability to continue doing business. These adjustments, as we are all now familiar, include mask requirements, capacity restrictions, and changes to the flow of foot traffic.
We know well by now that no business in any industry has been unaffected by the pandemic, whether in a positive or negative way. The arts & entertainment industry, including movie theaters, lost big as people have been unable to gather in crowds. Conversely, the new stay-at-home culture has catapulted big retailers like Target, Amazon, and Walmart into record sales. Businesses in different industries have had to scramble to adapt their business models to a predominantly virtual environment with limited in-person interaction.
We’ve seen the restaurant industry, a multitude of different retail outlets, medical services, and many others make adjustments to continue doing business in this new world. Whether your business is thriving during the pandemic or trying to get back on its feet, there are some easy ways to boost customer communication and drive business forward, even as we continue to socially distance.
Customer Communication Quick Wins to Foster Loyalty and Reduce Frustrations
Some changes as a result of the pandemic include shifting business hours, reservation requirements, capacity restrictions, or the elimination of in-person services. There is clearly a business impact here, but you can better weather that impact by communicating clearly and regularly with your customers to set expectations early and often.
Here are some quick wins you can employ to improve your customer communication:
- A Daily Briefing: They do it at the White House, so why not take the same approach at your business? Leverage social media to provide regular updates about anything your customer base might want or need to know. They will have an easier time engaging with you and will remember that in the future.
- Emails and Texts: Don’t flood your customer contacts with emails and text messages, but they are a quick, easy, and more personalized way to communicate information when the time is right. Think special offers or discounts, or a sudden change that may impact their experience. Right now, periodic emails are a great way to remind your customers that you’re being safe, clean, and respectful of COVID-19 precautions so they can be confident when doing business with you.
- Search Results & Website Updates: When someone searches your business online, what comes up? Make sure your information is accurate if someone uses the search engine results page (SERP) to find your hours, contact info, or location. Additionally, make sure your website is updated to reflect any changes to your business.
Your Website as a Critical Communication Tool
A heavier lift, but one a lot of businesses have found to be a crucial adjustment, is to equip your website with new functionalities to accommodate eCommerce, chat, or simply more accessible information.
Many businesses, like ski areas, have had to employ a third party to manage reservations or online purchases as in-person services become limited or eliminated.
Online shopping, take-out, delivery, reservations, presales, customer service, safety concerns, business updates, periodic closures, and contact tracing are all services that have gone digital in a big way since the pandemic.
In reality, even after we are able to get back to life as normal, these types of services and offerings will have also become normal, and customers will have come to expect them.
Adopting new digital habits for customer communication today will serve you well in the long run.
Beyond digital, there is a need to use print communications as well. For months, grocery stores have been using directional arrows in the aisles and floor guides to indicate six feet of distance. The more visual you can make an experience, especially when you are providing behavioral guidance during a pandemic, the easier you make things for your customers.
Prominent displays of information, from your mask policy to your capacity restrictions, help set customer expectations and put everyone on the same page.
Enhance your communications now, and your customers will have greater loyalty and evangelism for your brand well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
Want some help implementing the right customer communication tools? Contact us today.