Everything is in flux right now. Change has become the new norm. People watch the news on a daily, sometimes hourly basis to see what new changes are to be announced. Shop entrances are plastered with signs directing you to their new social etiquette.
In all the chaos you may have forgotten about the following 7 basic ways to reassure customers during coronavirus.
When you think about it, change has always been the norm. Everything is always changing. The difference with the current situation is that many of the recent developments are more cultural. In particular, it is important to realise how much we are being bombarded with messaging about it.
This constant intake of messages about how to shop, travel, work and communicate causes significant fatigue. From this fatigue comes a funny social dance. Person to person guidance at the doors of shops, retail assistants telling you what the procedure is upon entry.
Every location has slightly different rules and ways of ensuring safety. The result is that customers feel anxious before venturing to a shop or purchasing. In time, this anxiety is going to become the new norm. Your business needs to realise this now and develop its messaging, to reduce customer anxiety.
Communication is the key. You need to be telling your customers what is going on, how they can purchase from you and how disruptions may be effecting your business.
In many ways, you need to revisit basic marketing. Communicate the process to purchase from your business. Proactively market your opening hours, terms and conditions. If you are running any promotions make sure these are… promoted.
So you know that you need to communicate but how can this be done? Fear not. Below is a shortlist of different ways, often considered marketing basics, that you may have overlooked.
We are all used to the extremely annoying GDPR popups that plague websites like fleas. How about purposing one of these for something more useful?*
Welcome your website viewers with critical information about your service and products during the lockdown. Tell them about any changes in operational time, delivery variances or event key contact numbers. Is it just business as usual? Tell them if so.
*Don’t forget, GDPR compliance is a legal requirement in the UK. Even though we joke and jest about the subject, make sure your website is compliant.
Remember email newsletters? They are a fantastic way of keeping your current, past and potential customers updated about how your service or products are changing.
At the moment we aren’t seeing many email newsletters from SMEs. If your business has a database that can be used, make sure you use it. Tell past customers that you are still trading and accepting business.
Did you know? Many SMEs are reluctant to use email newsletters following the implementation of the GDPR laws. However, you are allowed to email past customers as these are considered to have ‘legitimate interest’ in your product or service.
More so than ever, your customers are at home. If your product or service is designed for the general public you need to seriously consider flyer drops. This is particularly important for pubs, bars and restaurants. This is important for any location-based business.
Currently, at home and our office, we are receiving the least amount of mail we have ever experienced. This means as a business, your flyers, booklets and promotional prints are more likely to be seen when posted. Not to mention many are still working from home!
For any location-based business, this is a great way to promote that fact that you are open, welcoming return business and to promote any offers.
It is stunning how many local and independent restaurants are not promoting their inclusion on the UKs eat out to help out scheme. Especially those venues that are passing the saving onto their customers.
A favourite of doctor surgeries and health care businesses. If you know your customers are going to have a common question, answer it via a telephone automated message. Basically, you add an additional message to your missed call telephone system.
Right now you could have an automated message about changes to your opening times, any future offers or even notices about major business developments. Once in place, these automated telephone messages are a great way to offload repetitive work while communicating with customers.
Often overlooked, your email footer is a great place to communicate critical information.
This strategy works well because if you are emailing someone it is likely they form part of that core audience that would benefit from a key service announcement. Emails also carry more value than other forms of marketing since the email content will be bespoke to the recipient.
Of course, social media has to be on the list. Why else would you be on our website?
By now, you should have a robust social media plan in place for publishing critical service messages. However, we know many of you don’t.
Spend a little time writing about the major developments in your business. Make this piece of writing informative, concise and factual. Use this to create a consistent message which can then be pinned to the top of your timeline on Facebook and Twitter.
Smaller developments, which may occur from week to week can be published as a more standard update or as a slide in the stories section of Facebook and Instagram.
If you want to be organised, link all of these to a news section on your website, that outlines current lockdown developments.
Look away now if you don’t want to see a quick service plug! We can help with all your social media needs, take a look at our service page for a full list of everything we can assist with.
As a business, you need to quell the fatigue people are feeling about society changing.
Think about your messaging. You need to consider two key points:
It is far more likely more things have remained the same for your business than have changed. (This is assuming you are not trading in the tourism, leisure or events sector).
Now you need to codify your overall situation and any developments into a communication strategy. The core of this strategy needs to be reassurance.
Let your current customers know what is happening. Proactively communicate with them that your business is still operating, share your hopes, tell them about your plans.
Silence is not an option if you want to survive.