As the world continues to navigate the unfamiliar territory of a pandemic, many companies are struggling to stay appropriately connected to their client base. Hoping to survive the economic storm, they’ve been challenged to walk a fine line between promoting their services and remaining sensitive to the stress and situations that may impede their customers from consuming.
While every business model is different, ExperiencePoint offers the following advice for staying connected and engaged with customers during this time of distance and uncertainty. With human-centered thinking as a guide, adding value and showing empathy through genuine connection will remind them that they are at the top of your mind and forge loyal relationships built to last beyond the throes of the current crisis.
1. Launch a tactful email campaign. Emails are a quick way to engage with customers without asking too much of their time. But be mindful with your messaging during this time. Instead of hard-selling your products or services, foster a spirit of community and transparency. Share stories about the ways your own teams have been innovating during the quarantine, share updates on changes you’ve made to help customers weather this storm, and offer tidbits that will get your customers excited about what’s being planned for the future. Remember, even if they don’t open the email, seeing your name next to a thoughtful and memorable subject line will make an impact.
2. Innovate for the good of the community. Does your company offer a product or service that could help people during this crisis? Or even better, can you adapt your offerings to help customers or the community? Whether it’s making food for healthcare workers, turning your distillery into a hand sanitizer manufacturer, or launching video tutorials related to the at-home use of your products, innovative, philanthropic gestures will go a long way toward fortifying customer loyalty and maintaining relevance in a changing business environment.
3. Adapt your pricing or payment models. If you have the ability to postpone payment cycles, lower prices, or offer discounts, now is the time to do it. Engage in honest and open conversations with your executive team about the kind of offers that would benefit your customers the most at this time. The goodwill you generate will pay off later on, and incentivize cash-strapped customers to keep their contracts in place.
4. Reach out personally. Touch base directly with high-value clients to let them know what’s happening with their projects or your service offerings. Make sure these conversations add value by providing updates that are specifically relevant to their needs. Above, don’t forget to ask them how they are faring during the pandemic and invite them to make suggestions for ways your company could help. Using the human-centered practice of empathy will show that your customers that you truly care, and help you identify innovative ways to meet their needs.
5. Host virtual events. Organize virtual keynote speeches by industry leaders or online networking events. These activities will give you an opportunity to stay connected with customers, while also providing them with something of value — an offering that will be particularly meaningful for those searching for a positive distraction. Make sure these events are engaging and provide plenty of takeaway for customers. This is not the time or place to give a two-hour PowerPoint presentation about your products, this is a time to genuinely engage with your customer base.
These exercises in customer connectivity may not directly generate new revenue at this time, but they are a smart and proactive way to build long term brand loyalty, and to remind customers of why they value your service.