Time of social and economic hardship is the ultimate stress-test of whether the relationship between companies and customers is robust enough to endure long term or so fragile that unexpected challenges can completely disrupt and derail the business.
Optimising customer experience and effectively managing connection is crucial in the current climate, as the impression businesses make now when clients are vulnerable, will strongly influence future, post-pandemic public opinion.
While the COVID-19 crisis and nationwide lockdown have threatened the everyday sense of security Australians are accustomed to, businesses can restore some stability and comfort to their customer and client base through dependable, responsive service and organic communication.
1. Communication, caring and change
Take your customer on the journey. As we start to navigate the road out of COVID-19, businesses must anticipate transformed customer needs and prepare for remnant uncertainty after the crisis has passed. Consumer spending trends have shifted and will remain changed after the global lockdowns are over, with more reserved and cautious behaviours expected. Many individuals have been cut off from steady income sources as a result of this pandemic, and countless households and businesses have been made aware of their own financial frailty.
It’s understandable customers and businesses alike may continue to be conservative in future spending practices, in order to replenish savings and bolster the bottom line. Brands can address this by communicating how their business is adding value to customers and clarifying what place their services and products have in supporting clients and consumers post-pandemic.
Connect more meaningfully than ever by conveying empathy, effort and exploration through remote customer service. Communicating with emotional intelligence, care and honesty build trust.
Reaching out to customers to thank them for sticking with the business, and to ask for feedback and insights, is an extra step that brands can take to help their clients feel valued. Utilise technology like CRM to create VIP lists of your most valuable and loyal customers, and then reach out to let them know how much they are appreciated.
Employees at the forefront of customer experience services can have invaluable information and advice on improving customer service and relations. They are a resource that shouldn’t be overlooked when reimagining how to pivot operations to support the situation now and in the future.
2. Customer focus and confidence
Whether you’re a B2B or a B2C company, strong and consistent branding is an essential component of confidence and continuity amid times of change. An effective communication strategy empowers and establishes your business as adaptable, resilient and committed to supporting customers in a meaningful and relevant way. Doubling engagement is pivotal in strengthening connection, with both your clients and employees alike.
Customer care will be higher in quality and more productive if your employees are feeling recognised, supported and appreciated. Additionally, maintaining professionalism and high standards of conduct and presentation throughout your company can also help with internal motivation and retaining a sense of stability.
3. Humanise the virtual world
Customers encounter businesses across multiple channels and touchpoints from physical face to face, remote via phone or mail and digital including online and social media. Up until now, many organisations prioritised digital for efficiency. The irony is that now COVID-19 has forced the global adoption of digital tools and remote working environments, it’s no longer good enough to just make those experiences efficient.
People are craving connection and organisations must enhance their human side in the virtual world. Consider how you can embed and amplify human interaction across virtual channels. Be honest with your customers about what’s changed, nurture shared connection and surprise them with unexpected generosity.
4. Forge the future together
Turn shared pain into shared gain. Going through hard times together provides the opportunity for businesses to deepen their relationship with customers and industry. The proactive and innovative measures companies take to support clients now will only fortify connections in the long term. They may even pave the way for how brands and customers will work together in the future.
COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on customers and companies, changing the way we interact, connect and collaborate. As we look to building the new normal, we know that companies and consumers can adapt in a positive way to change and work together to create a bright and prosperous future.
It’s time to reinvent, rebuild and recover. If you’re planning to reach the other side, we’d be delighted to help review your marketing and business strategy using our integrated TaurusBullseye Methodology! Ask us about our Bullseye strategy and crisis communications offerings at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Williams, Founder and CEO, Taurus Group