During these uncertain times, it can be challenging to know how to proceed with business. On one hand, you may be concerned that you may come off as insensitive and tone deaf, while on the other hand, you need to keep moving forward. By employing a few simple ideas, you can ensure that your customers know you are there for them during this challenging time, and that you are facing current events head on. Many of the strategies we list here align with the techniques we have recommended for making communication personal, so keep those in mind as you build out your communication plan.
Do not wait for your customers to come to you. Reach out, ask if they are open to setting up a time to check in, and ask them how they are coping. Now is a good time to be transparent and authentic. Tell customers how your business is affected by current events and how you are coping. Be sure to instill hope into what you say by keeping things positive. For example, you can tell customers that your business is slow due to many cancelled events, but that you have had the exciting opportunity to help businesses that are looking for ways to engage with customers now that they are remote.
Listen to your customers
It is critical that you cater your communications to your customers during a crisis. When checking in and talking with your customers, listen carefully. You can learn a lot, not just by what they say, but the tone they use and how open they are. Listening can help you provide solutions and ideas that are relevant to their experience as they navigate the crisis.
Talk to your customers about what you and they see beyond this crisis. Don’t just focus on the now, but rather how you can work together to ensure they are well-positioned when this is all said and done. Ask how the crisis will impact how they manage events, memberships, and appointments in the future. Ask how it will impact how and where their team works. The information you glean from looking ahead can help you provide creative and helpful solutions that have long term impact.
Keep moving forward
Do not get disheartened if customers do not want to engage. This situation has impacted businesses differently, and everyone is doing their best to stay afloat. Do not take it personally, and do not give up if you do not get the responses you want. Take detailed notes of all conversations, and come back to those that are blocked in a few months.