While your customers are practicing social distancing, what are the ways you can help them to stay connected with your business?
Like your business, your customers are likely feeling stuck and uncertain about how and when to contact their favourite local services again. However, making use of touchpoints is key to providing support and retaining customer loyalty during this difficult time.
Here, we’ve put together some strategies for small businesses to keep in touch with their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Making Yourself Easy to Reach
If your customers are unable to get in touch with you during quarantine, there’s a good chance that the next call they’ll make will be to your competitor. You can stop that from happening by making yourself as accessible and responsive as possible.
There are a number of online tools available to make your business easy to reach. Some of these may include installing a chat widget onto your website, sending out emails, using text messaging or configuring an intelligent answering service to handle your calls during your closure.
Although your customers may not be able to book a visit or session, being available for them will definitely help you to build loyalty amongst your customer base.
Staying Connected Through SMS
While emails are great for sending longer-form announcements, 80% of customers prefer to communicate with businesses through text message.
LocalMessages can reduce your risk of losing your customers and help you keep a communication line open during your business downtime. Aside from the fact that most people nowadays are armed with a smartphone (as well as plenty of at-home time to browse stuff on their handheld devices), text messaging is a simpler, more convenient form of communication with a much higher open rate than email.
For example, a junk removal company may not be able to take on your job during the current conditions. However, it’s still a much more convenient option to text the company and request a time for them to reschedule an appointment in the future (as opposed to playing phone tag or having their emails pile up in your spam folder).
Offering an Automated Service
If you aren’t able to be in the office right now, you’ll need to have a system in place to make sure leads are still coming in. LocalResponse can handle any phone calls from customers who might be inquiring about the status of your business during this time.
Your customers might be wondering if your business is currently closed in light of COVID-19, or they might want to be posted about any safety measures your business might be implementing once it’s safe to open your doors again. With LocalResponse, you can set up a unique greeting for your callers — which can include a customized message informing them about any pressing questions or updates.
Provide Your Service While Social Distancing
Today, there are plenty of video chat platforms and applications available. When you can’t meet with your customers in-person, online consultations, classes or meetings are certainly a next-best alternative to resuming your regular operations.
For example, you may have found out that your local gym is offering online classes through Zoom. Why not adapt that to your industry?
Or if you’re a physiotherapist, video calling is a great alternative to continue offering sessions showing simple at-home stretches to your clients.
If you’re a plumber, you can always walk a client through small fixes around their house through a video call.
Providing virtual sessions can help your business build loyalty amongst your clientele, resume services and avoid a stall in your revenue stream.
But while having these digital tools is a great way to help keep your business running, you’ll also want to ensure you’re using the right voice for every call or message.
Adjust Your Messaging for the Current Climate
With many people struggling right now, it’s more important than ever to use the appropriate tone and messaging as you distribute content to your customers.
When mentioning anything related to the coronavirus, it’s helpful to adopt a serious tone — even if this strays from your typical brand. Your customers will naturally feel more inclined to stick with businesses that do their best to sound supportive, even if it’s on a smaller scale.
Wherever possible, you should always be empathetic and genuine. This is an unprecedented situation, which means you’ll be more likely to make a stronger connection this way.
Keep Your Social Media Up-To-Date
Increasing your social media presence is a great way to keep your customer base checked in on how your business is responding to COVID-19. This can be done with streamlined updates, posts about how your business is preparing for post-COVID safety or simply leaving a trail of positive, uplifting messages to keep your followers engaged.
Fortunately, we live in an era where many customers are likely to be on social media. And given that being “locked-in” is currently allowing for heightened online activity, now is an even greater time to get a higher view and response rate on your public platforms (such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).
Everybody around the world is being affected by the pandemic in one way or another, which means that if you can use social media to create solidarity with your customers, you’ll have a greater chance of sharing a connection with them. Sharing a post on social media is a great way for both ends to reciprocate both engagement and support.
Keep Your Customers Updated
Lastly, you should be providing your customers with a timeline of what tentative steps you’re taking to safely open your doors again. Here’s how you can keep your customers updated.
It’ll look good on your business to show your customers that you’re willing to go the extra mile to help them. They are likely just as stressed out about COVID-19 as you are, which means that checking in on them and letting them know you’re available to offer help, advice and guidance during this challenging time will be one of the best ways to enforce a line of communication.
You should also be letting your customers know what services or products you can still offer them, what promotional deals or gift cards they can use or about what steps are being taken when your doors are ready to open again.
Hang in There — We’re Here to Help!
Have any questions about how to keep your customer relations strong during the COVID-19 pandemic? For any additional tips or additional information about how our OneLocal products can help you stay in touch with your customers, reach out to our team today! Our marketing specialists are always happy to help.