By: Nicole Fallon, Contributor – Businesses that want to survive COVID-19 must maintain consistent and relevant communication with customers throughout the pandemic. Here’s how to do it.
After an initial flood of “here’s what we’re doing for COVID-19” messages, business owners and consumers settled into a strange new normal. Now, the challenge has become maintaining a steady flow of consistent, relevant communications that address customers’ current concerns about the pandemic — especially if your business is planning to reopen its doors in the coming weeks.
We spoke with nine business leaders and communications experts about how to approach your customer messaging right now. Follow these tips to help you craft your strategy for the weeks and months ahead.
Think about what your customers need right now
Your customers’ immediate needs should be front and center in all your communications, said Caroline Leach, a social media consultant and executive coach.
“Consider what your customers could most use right now, whether it’s relevant and timely information or a discount on essential products or services, and communicate that,” Leach added.
Listen to their problems
To get a better handle on your customers’ needs, Gary Romano, president and CEO of Civitas Strategies, recommends actively listening to their problems when you speak with them, since sales is ultimately about solving problems.
“The challenges your clients had four weeks ago are likely very different than today,” said Romano. “Even helping them connect with a business that can [meet those challenges] will generate value for your client and a partner.”
Take a holistic approach to revamping your communications strategy
Once you understand where your customers are and what they need from you, you need to examine every piece of your current communications plan and adjust accordingly, both for right now and for post-COVID.
“New strategies are essential and need to be put in place so they can benefit you now, as well as after the panic dissipates and we re-emerge from sheltering in place,” said Nicholas Adams, president and CEO of NINICO Communications.
Adams advised businesses to look at the following areas:
- Get a crisis communications plan in place, if you don’t already have one.
- Ensure all press releases are important, timely or provide a public benefit.
- Reassess your advertising strategy.
- Connect with your audience in real time.
- Update your website.
- Stay engaged through social media channels.
- Write thought leadership pieces.
- Do something to support your community.
Customers can see through canned empathy, so focus on being real with your customers.
Ray Green, CEO, RJG Consulting