Small businesses in America have suffered huge losses due to the crisis. Although the unprecedented times put them through extreme hardships, this can also be seen as an opportunity to work on crisis communication plans that would be useful in the future when unexpected events like a personal emergency or natural disaster occur.
Here are some of the ways to retain the relationship with your customers during this time.
Inform Your Customers About The Developments And Changes In Your Business
It is important to realize that customers are still looking for businesses but this time through online platforms. Local customers would be looking for businesses including yours and with many people at home now, this practice would have increased. According to HubSpot, there has been a 13% increase in website traffic from February to March. Do not make the mistake of assuming that your customers will not be looking for you just because you have limitations in operating at 100% efficiency.
Ensure that people can find the right information when they are looking for you online, like:
- Whether you are open or not and changes if any in your operating hours.
- What changes you have made like any special precautions you are taking and anything (wearing gloves and mask) that you expect your customers to do.
- Any resources you can offer your customers or an emergency hotline to any links to external resources.
Update this information with all your sources because you don’t know where people are looking for you. Conflicting information on different channels is the last thing your potential customers would want.
- Update information added to your website.
- Update information added to your social media profiles.
- Update your listing in Google My Business.
Also update your email signatures, voicemail, and storefront signage.
Adapt To The Newer Ways Of Doing Business
There is no denying that your business cannot operate the exact way as it did before the crisis that forced your customers to stay at home. However, this also happens to be a great time to test some clever options that will help you survive and flourish during difficult times.
- Businesses that depend on face-to-face interactions or on-site visits can use video conferencing tools like Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet.
- Food services can develop platforms for customers to make online orders and offer home delivery.
- Retail businesses can plan on developing eCommerce platforms or offering local delivery.
It seems to be a great time to focus on good habits again as you will mostly have some extra time now. Check your emails, Facebook messages, and Twitter mentions regularly. Read the good and bad reviews about your company on the web and respond to them. Your customers are also attempting to adapt to the changes that the crisis has brought to their lives, and hence make sure that you help them in every possible way.
Let Your Customers Know About What Is Coming Up
Do not make any promises that you can’t keep but some optimism or a simple conversation about what could be coming up can be quite helpful. Your customers would appreciate it when they know you have plans for the future even if you are not sure about when you will able to start working on them.
You can also ask for suggestions from your customers. For that, you can use social media, emails, and survey tools. The customers will appreciate it if you ask them what they want.
- Do they appreciate regular updates on your website or social media or is an email newsletter enough?
- Do they find videos useful, like ‘how-to’ videos?
- What would be the first thing they would want once you are available again?
Staying Idle Is The Last Thing To Do
Never divert your attention away from your business completely during any crisis. Your customers will be looking for you and would want your service now or in the future. They are going to remember the names of the businesses that kept them informed and the ones that did not.
Your customers are going to appreciate even the small efforts you made to keep them updated about your business.