The COVID-19 situation is seemingly on everyone’s minds at the moment. But while now isn’t the time to panic, you are likely wondering about the next steps for your business.
Regardless of the size of your business, your customers are likely coming to you right now with a flood of questions. Do you plan to stay open? Are you able to complete your outstanding commitments? What policy changes will your business implement?
In order to keep up with the ever-changing circumstances, you’ll need a sound communication strategy to help you keep your current and potential customers informed and educated.
This peace of mind is the foundation of great customer service and can help you navigate any uncertainty.
5 ways to keep customers informed
There are many options when it comes to keeping your customers informed. However, here are some affordable options that are relatively simple to implement:
- Leverage email marketing.
- Use social media.
- Post updates on your website.
- Use messaging apps.
- Create blog content.
Learn more about each of these channels and how you can utilize them to maximize their impact.
1. Leverage email marketing
Email is still one of the best ways to reach your customers. In fact, a 2019 study of phone use found Canadians spend more time reading emails than checking social media or watching videos.
Email is considerably better than social media when it comes to sweeping communication because it allows you to contact all your customers at once — instead of just the ones the algorithm selects.
Send emails regularly to your customers about how your business is adapting in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. Update your customers with any changes as they come up.
2. Use social media
While email is considered the top communication tool, social media is still an important channel for reaching and informing customers. Content on social has the benefit of reaching beyond just your current customer base, as many platforms enable sharing.
The sharing functionality makes social media a good platform for communicating important information such as your modified operating hours or whether you intend to close during the outbreak.
Communicate changes in real-time using your social media channels and update your general page information to reflect any relevant modifications.
Social media posts are also a great way for you to quickly answer questions or address concerns by customers who comment on your updates.
Make sure you don’t just push updates on your social channels, but that you dedicate time to respond to any comments, questions, or direct messages.
3. Post updates on your website
Your website is likely the first place people will look for COVID-19 information.
Place a banner at the top of your website or make the link to learn more about your changes large enough for customers to notice.
You may also want to create a page specifically dedicated to the changes you’re making in response to the virus.
If you do dedicate a page, make sure you update it regularly and add the date you last updated the page to provide context to your customers. You will also want to remove the page once your business gets back to normal.
For inspiration, look at travel companies to see how they are addressing the pandemic on their websites. Expedia, Air Canada and Hotels.com are good places to start.
4. Use messaging apps like Facebook Messenger
Depending on your business, you may want to use messaging apps to communicate updates and also to provide customer service. You can answer questions customers have and address changes on an individual basis.
Facebook Messenger is a good place to start, but you may also want to use Twitter and even LinkedIn direct messages to communicate updates with your customers.
5. Create blog content
You may need to explain the steps you are taking to fight the outbreak in greater detail. You can use your blog to post content explaining your sanitizing processes and operational changes. Then, share these blog posts across social media and with your email list.
If you post regularly about the pandemic on your blog, then you only need to write once and can share the message multiple times. This saves time and allows you to communicate faster.
Related: What is a blog and where to start
Be prepared to use multiple channels
If you want to keep your customers informed, then you’ll likely need to use multiple channels.
You can’t expect everyone to turn to social media or sign up for your email updates.
Set up a daily call within your team to determine if there are any changes that need to be shared with customers and take the appropriate strategy and channel to deliver that message effectively.
With solid planning and clear communication, you and your customers can navigate current events with peace of mind.