The coronavirus pandemic has upset, to varying degrees, the lives of people all over the world. With social distancing and lockdowns, establishing and nurturing connections between people has become even more of a challenge than usual. And this challenge affects both private and business people alike.
Some companies use programs like Weave to help them better engage with their customers. And while implementing software is helpful (if not obligatory) there are still fundamental concepts that need to be understood and taken into consideration if we are going to effectively adapt to the “new normal” and discover new business opportunities.
1 – Keep Your Customers Informed
With the social distancing and lockdowns, this is a time of nearly unprecedented uncertainty. People, now more than ever, feel the need to know about what is happening around them, that includes how business they are familiar with are adapting to current changes in the environment.
You need to keep your customers informed by sharing news about your business, not only what you are currently doing but also about developments, changes, and steps you are considering taking. This way they feel like they are part of a dynamic process, which is not only informative but exciting and engaging too.
Some tools you can use to keep your customers ‘in the loop’ include social media, email, and being active in local events (when possible). Consider sponsoring local sporting events and being present at trade shows and fairs.
If your business is operating in the US, check out this article on the best and most popular trade shows in the US in 2021 and 2022.
2 – Be Transparent With Your Customers
People rarely expect perfection. However, they do expect others to be open and honest with them. Being transparent is about informing others about what is going on and why. Being transparent is about being open and honest with the challenges you are facing and the steps you are taking or considering taking in order to meet those challenges.
Not only does being transparent earn you a certain amount of sympathy with your customers and the public at large, it also helps build trust. When you are transparent with your customers there is a good chance they can offer you more than their understanding. They may even have solutions they can offer.
3 – Don’t Be Afraid to Be Silent
Sometimes, the best solution is just to remain silent and listen. With advancements in AI, virtual assistance and other tools that automate communication, many people are becoming overloaded with messages and reminders that don’t actually transmit any valuable information. Make sure you don’t dilute your messaging by overdoing it on the frequency.
At the same time, you should let your customers know that you are available should they wish to reach out. The best way to show your availability is by ensuring you can provide a quick, if not immediate, response to their questions or queries.
4 – Explore Social Media
Having a strong presence on social media platforms is a must in today’s business environment. These kinds of platforms allow you to keep your customers up to date on your activities, the new products and services you are proposing and what steps your company is taking to adapt to current situations, restrictions and similar challenges.
Social media platforms also enable your customers to reach out to you easily. They are a good way to gather important feedback about your customers’ experience with your company. Furthermore, social media pages are easily shared. This means that they can serve as word-of-mouth advertising.
Some ways you can take advantage of social media platforms are:
- Running contests or giveaways on Facebook or Twitter
- Showing pictures and bios of your company’s employees (give your company a more personable, relatable touch)
- Asking followers what they think about your products and whatever ideas for change you are considering (bring your customers into the brainstorming process)
- Gathering and displaying testimonials from satisfied customers
5 – Use and Expand Your Blog
Creating and exploiting a blog is a good way to reach more prospective customers. The focus of your blog doesn’t necessarily need to be on your company. You can write about and report on topics in the niche or sector of activity that your business operates in and any offshoots or tangents of that niche.
The advantage of expanding the scope of your blog is that this will bring more traffic to your website and not necessarily traffic from existing customers but also from people interested in the sector of activity your business operates in. The more traffic your blog generates, the more engagement and interaction with readers that your blog generates, the higher your website as a whole will rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).
While the social and economic landscape is changing quickly, one thing that remains the same for any business is the need for effective communication. The ‘new normal’, in that respect, is not that much different from the old normal – engage through a multitude of different platforms; be transparent; be available; and be responsive. But don’t forget that communication is a two-way street. You need to listen to your customers as well.