Bill Gates, in his 2015 Ted Talk titled – ‘The Next Outbreak? We’re Not Ready’ explained, “the next big thing that is likely to kill around 10 million people will not be a war, but a virus”. The scary part isn’t that he is right in 2020, the scariest part is that he can be right every single time a new virus invades mankind.
At the beginning of this year, nobody would have imagined that a small microbe would lead to thousands of deaths and get the whole world together, looking for a possible vaccine breakthrough.
Covid-19 spread has made global business giants turn to a panic state and many are on the verge to go bankrupt. Many business owners claim that their finances have gone from bad to disastrous. Michael Hicks, an economist at Ball State University, states that one in six U.S employees are at severe risk of layoffs.
So, what really lies ahead for business owners? Are you likely to lose customers and eventually your business? How do you even communicate with your customers amid this global pandemic? Let us find out now.
Why Communication Has Become Important Than Ever Before?
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has already taken place.”- George Bernard Shaw
Communication is an ongoing phenomenon, and communicating with your customers during Covid-19 can leave a lasting impression on them. Your customers would want to know if you are open, whether you have stock ready, and also, if your products are safe or not. If you are assuming that your customers already know all the answers than you are making a big mistake.
For most businesses, when their pillars are shaken, the idea of communicating with customers might seem a little pointless. However, coming out in the open and shedding light on reality will help you win the trust of your customers. Persistent customer communication can reflect that you genuinely care about them.
There are certain steps that you need to follow to ensure there is zero communication gap between you and your customers amid this global pandemic.
Tips to Use While Communicating with Customers Amid COVID-19
Communicate Via Website
According to Clutch.co, around two-thirds of small businesses have an active online presence. As a result, a business website is a perfect medium to keep your customers posted about every single update. While a lot of people across the globe are practising social distancing, this has only made them increase their overall time spent over the internet.
You need to address common queries about how your business is adapting to restrictions and regulations due to the spread of Covid-19. If possible, you can dedicate an entire page for this purpose. While some organizations can use the special announcements section to post necessary feeds about product/service availability or store timings.
Switch from Offline to Online Customer Support
While your customers should always be on the top of your priority list, the situation demands you to be equally sympathetic towards your staff members. Offering live chat support will help you keep both your customers and your staff at a safe distance.
Using live chat system for customer service will help you to communicate with your customers and clients amid the coronavirus seamlessly. Your customers need not pay your office or store a visit for resolving basic queries. The broader goal is to offer seamless support and also avoid physical contact at the same time.
Update Your Local Business Listings
If you are a small or medium-sized business, the chances are that many potential customers search for your business online. In that case, they would come across your local business listing first than your business website. You need to ensure that your local listings communicate the right information and highlight any changes in business operations.
Make sure you update all your local business listings, including- Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places, etc. You can add new pictures showing how your business is dealing with hygiene and sanitizing your office or store amid COVID-19. You must update your working hours and notify them about any temporary closures. After all, you would not want customers who come running to your stores only to find that it’s closed.
Advice Customers Against ‘Panic Buying’
Human beings have a tendency to engage in panic buying and hoarding unnecessary things during any alarming situation. Since Covid-19 is affecting majorly elderly people, you would not want a situation where they are left with nothing but empty store shelves.
If your business sells items that come under ‘necessities’, you need to act fast and impose a limit on how much someone can buy. For instance, we saw two people brawl over a toilet paper in an Asda store in London. Advising your customers against panic buying would help avoid any situation taking an ugly turn and encourage people to be wise with their buying decisions during a pandemic.
It’s Time to Lend An Ear
During this unfortunate time of crisis, your customers will always have something important to share. It can be a simple query or a piece of valuable advice that can take your business a long way. Lending an ear will help you offer an experience that would surely surpass customer expectations.
You can use your social media pages to interact with your users and hold public discussions. Or you can simply use a reliable and efficient AI-Powered survey tool to understand customer pain-points better. Capturing valuable customer feedback will make your business future-ready and avoid any mistakes during a similar scenario in the future.
These are surely going to be a couple of testing months for both corporate giants as well as small startups. While there seems to be no immediate relief at sight, however, keeping your customers engaged and updated will definitely work in your favor.
Live to fight another day!