Coronavirus (COVID-19) has thrust the world into a state of emergency. Regardless of your niche or sector, as a small business owner, we know this is a challenging time.
Fortunately, we live in the digital age — a time when there are multiple ways for your customers to get in touch with you, and for you to keep in contact with your customers.
Maintaining communication with your customers and making it easy for them to contact you makes it more possible to continue doing business, manage expectations, and assist people through these uncertain times.
Here are some measures you can take to keep the lines of communication open between you and your customers.
If you’re creating an emergency communication plan, including email is essential.
Well-crafted, well-timed emails will allow you to provide customers with an insight into your current trading status, your internal plans or initiatives, and any other key information that you feel will offer personal value.
Ensure that all of your messages include up-to-date contact information, provide regular updates, and allow customers to reply to your communications directly to keep the conversation going.
Social media and chat
In times of emergency, people flock to social media to gain access to important information and connect with others — so it’s important to keep your virtual door open.
Get active on social media, enabling customers as well as other business owners to connect with you and drop you a message.
From Facebook Messenger to Snapchat and WhatsApp, keeping an open line of communication is key.
Be sure to include links to your social media profiles on your other communication channels, such as emails, blog posts, your website, etc.
Reach out to customers across your most engaged social media platforms, schedule live video sessions, set up community groups, and most importantly, remain responsive at all times (within reason, of course — you do need to sleep, after all).
Here’s a great example of a business using Facebook to interact with customers:
Dedicated phone line
Despite the evolution of the digital age, the phone is still a trusted consumer favorite.
Particularly during times of isolation, your customers might want to speak to a friendly voice — so, even if your business is closed in a formal sense, launching a secondary business phone line where calls can be forwarded to might help you maintain contact with your audience during these uncertain times.
Taking extra personal measures like this will help you encourage customer loyalty, which is essential to any business right now, regardless of your niche or industry.
Online bookings and scheduling
During these challenging times, try to broadcast relevant information across every one of your touchpoints on a regular basis.
If you don’t already offer online scheduling via your website, consider setting up a dedicated landing page that features an online contact, booking and scheduling form so your customers can drop you a line with ease.
With staffing shortages an additional concern to many businesses during this crisis, the ability to manage bookings digitally can be especially helpful.
If you happen to have a physical location for your business, it’s also a good idea to clearly post your modified hours or closure information.
Not all of your customers may see your digital communication efforts, so make sure that your physical location also provides important business details (closure information, contact details, etc).
While it’s not easy navigating a small business right now, focusing on your customers will steer your efforts in the right direction.
Make it as easy as possible for your customers to contact you, broadcast your wealth of contact options in as many places as you can, and speak in a language that resonates with everyone. In terms of communication, this really is the way forward.
Focus on making every single form of communication clear, transparent, and easy to access on every channel — from your website to your mobile applications, and beyond.
We hope these customer contact tips will help you stay connected to your consumers during this unsettling period.
And if you need us, please do get in touch — we’re here for you.