With social distancing guidelines meaning most of the population is staying at home, and the world in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, it can be difficult for brands to know what actions to take when needing to communicate with their customers.
With so much changing so quickly during this unprecedented time, what actions can brands take now to best serve and grow their customer base, mitigate the risk to themselves and take care of their people?
This series of short articles aims to explore this, to help you during this crisis and look to the future.
Empathy and Transparency
After this crisis has passed, people will remember brands for how they interacted with their consumers. They will remember their acts of kindness – if undertaken with genuine generosity – and empathy shown.
People are, in general, feeling very vulnerable right now. It’s important that you remain considerate in how often you’re relaying announcements, what information you share, and the way you communicate certain messages.
While many physical business premises are temporarily closed, such as hotels, ‘non-essential’ retail and restaurants, there are still an unprecedented number of companies working remotely and continuing their operations across various sectors.
Any changes to operations are likely to raise questions around processes and procedures and you should look to proactively address this. Look to reassure your customers of your preparations and ongoing response to the crisis.
You may also need to communicate with your customers relating directly to your products, or if you have important company updates such as shipping delays, policy changes, or rate changes.
Whatever your need to communicate to your customers is, keep in mind that people are feeling wary and are likely to respond better to supportive communications, even for factual changes or standard recurring messages or activities.
Be honest and transparent, and if you make pledges or promises to your customers, even during uncertain times, you must be able to deliver on them.
Make sure your message matches the current climate
Taking the time to adjust your messaging today will likely pay off when we emerge from this period of disruption.
This is a time of much uncertainty and anxiety for your customers, some of whom may have been, or will have family, personally affected by the coronavirus. They may even have loved ones that are at high-risk and in isolation, as many of us do.
We should all be aware of the need to be sensitive with the language we choose to use in any marketing or communication to our customers at this time.
Many brands will have a requirement to communicate with their customers on a regular basis, even now, whether that is a regulatory requirement or due to the nature of their product or service. Think about how you can do so in a way that shows some awareness of the struggles and challenges being faced by different members of our society.
If you are requiring action to be taken by your customer or are looking for them to make a purchase you must be careful that your tone matches the current climate without being flippant or disrespectful. You don’t want to be seen to as taking advantage of a crisis to push sales.
All businesses are in uncharted territory during this pandemic. While we certainly can’t claim to have all the answers, we are doing everything we can to help, wherever we can. We’re helping businesses from large financial institutions through to utility providers and the NHS to continue communicating with their customers through print and digital.
If we can help in any way, we’re here for you.
Just email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chat.