It’s fair to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every industry in some way – big or small, positive or negative. For many businesses, the coronavirus lockdown and mass business closures have led to near financial ruin, business complications, and a lot of stress. So it’s increasingly important that you maintain strong customer service with your clients and make them feel as informed, safe, and confident as you can, so that not only do they keep coming back to buy your product or service, but that they feel good in doing so.
Keeping your customers and clients informed about changes due to COVID-19 can feel stressful at the least for many. A lot of changes have to be made to how we do business and that means running a lot more of our workflows, and providing more of our services, online rather than in person. Furthermore, getting the word out about how your business has been switched up can be a lot of work. Should you go the email newsletter route? Or perhaps personally message all your clients? Maybe having a dedicated page on your website seems to be the best option.
Let’s take a look at some simple and straightforward steps you can take to keep your clients and customers in the loop during the pandemic, and keep your business afloat and thriving, without having to invest too much time, energy or financial resources.
- Understanding your clients’ concerns
The first step towards getting the word out and informing your clients during the Covid-19 pandemic is to understand their priorities and what requirements are going to change for them and their projects or buying interests. For example, if you run a cafe, your clients’ concerns are safety, social distancing measures, in-house hygiene regulations, etc. These are your clients’ priorities. Whereas if you work in an agency providing a service, you may have experienced an increase in requests and orders during this time as many businesses transition to working and outsourcing online. In this case, your priorities are to keep your clients in the loop about your scheduling and availability, and what resources you have available to take on new projects.
- Make your message clear and concise
Your clients and customers are going to get bored and ignore you if you spend too much time discussing the changes to your business model. They’ll be especially disinterested if what you’re announcing doesn’t actually affect them. Therefore you should understand their priorities, find what you need to say, and make it as stripped down and straightforward as possible. No space for filler content or promotional ‘lorem-ipsum-dolor’, no rambling or unnecessary clarification.
Make it simple, easy and clear. When are you available, what projects are you capable of taking on, how has your schedule changed, etc. What social distancing measures you’re implementing, how you plan to keep your customers safe… the list goes on. Deliver short and straight-to-the-point messages, and only speak about what matters to your clients.
- Stay available to answer questions
It’s not unlikely that you’ll receive burning questions from a lot of your regular customers and clients. Many businesses during this time have experienced this. So it’s very important that you stay as active as possible to answer these questions, whether that be through email, social media or even in person. By answering questions quickly and effectively, you also build trust and rapport with your clients, encouraging them to return to your company for more in the future.
- Ensure you’re speaking to the right people
Right now you may be blasting off emails or newsletters to all of your past and present clients. You don’t need to do this. Some of these people probably aren’t intending to work with you currently, while others know that they can ask any questions or look up the relevant information on your site when they need it. To be effective when informing your clients during the coronavirus pandemic, target the regular customers and clients, and fine-tune your message so it is relevant to as many people as possible before posting it to a large medium, like your social media following, or on your business website’s front page. The hardest part of communication is getting it through to the right people, and enough people. So be intelligent about who you inform, and where you make information accessible.
For example, if your calendar is becoming overbooked, add a small section on your front page and booking/hiring page so your clients’ can view your new or reduced availability.
Let’s take another example. Say you run a cafe and want to post information on social media regarding the changes to your shop due to coronavirus. It wouldn’t make much sense giving out a long list of the products you can no longer provide. There’s no point in saying this kind of coffee is not available because of reduced supply, or something like that. The customers interested in those products can find this out on your website’s menu page, by reaching out to ask, or by dropping by in person. The relevant message for a large social media audience are the broader restrictions, like the social distancing measures you’re implementing, the hygiene rules, etc.
This information affects a lot of people and so a much greater audience needs to hear it. Target your overall, most widely relevant message to these large audiences while ensuring your loyal clients and customers can ask questions and get the specific information they need.
- Make information readily available online
There will be clients and customers who just want a single page they can visit online to read up about all the main changes to your business during COVID-19, so it’s extremely important you plan, draft and write this information and publish it to a dedicated and visible page on your site. Your customers will appreciate this, and it encourages your clients to trust you more strongly. So write out the key points and get them uploaded to your website so that they can be accessed by those who are concerned about the changes to your company.