How to Connect with Customers During Difficult Times
Most businesses know that reaching out to customers is essential, contrary to popular “wisdom” much more so during difficult times. Customers should feel connected and dedicated to your brand, and remaining in frequent contact is an excellent way to achieve a good level of brand engagement. However, sometimes reaching out is easier said than done. While it’s easy to send an uplifting message or gift during times of economic stability and prosperity, the gift-giving and note-writing can feel much more challenging during difficult times.
If you have a business that is struggling to hit the right note with your customer communications during these uncertain times, here is a guide to help you remain in contact in a tactful, intelligent way.
The importance of connecting with customers during difficult times
During times of economic and social uncertainty, you may feel tempted to ‘ghost’ your customers. If you have been thinking that no communication is the best option, you should think again.
Customers will undoubtedly be feeling insecure about their future. While they may not be in the financial position to spend money now, the marketing outreach your company does will affect the way your customers view you for years to come. In other words, by reaching out and connecting with existing customers on a genuine level now, your customers will continue to support your business later.
Many businesses will be closed or have far less business than usual, allowing you more time to check up on your customers and see how they’re doing. It’s because times are tough, rather than despite it, that now is perhaps the best time to focus on customer engagement—the type of marketing that pays off in the long run. When things settle down economically, your customer base will remain. These existing customers are crucial to the stability of your business. Around 23% of all profitability and revenue comes from your fully engaged customers.
Adopting a positive and caring mindset
The first thing to remember during hard times is that your customers are likely feeling scared, stressed, and overwhelmed. With this in mind, your priorities need to shift from connecting in order to sell to connecting in order to support.
Think about how your business is in a unique position to help your customers in challenging situations. Ask yourself what your customers need and how you can fill this need. In many cases, customers may simply require reassurance that your company is supporting its employees and customers through these uncertain times. In other cases, you may have a product or a service that will benefit your customers now more than ever.
Many companies choose to go the route of social philanthropy in the wake of disasters and emergencies. For instance, in the fallout of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, many companies found ways to donate and provide services for affected communities. Studies have shown that these philanthropic efforts were hugely effective methods of retaining and engaging with customers.
Plan your next moves in terms of customer outreach with the current social climate in mind. Focus on keeping your customers updated, informed, and reassured. In the long run, your existing customers will reward you for keeping a positive attitude during difficult times with their loyalty and continued patronage.
Greeting cards—how to connect with a customer this year
Instead of using standard, impersonal email marketing, try implementing some innovative methods during these strange times. Sending physical greeting cards and gifts are one of the best ways you can start connecting with customers this year. Sending a card in the mail will show your customers that you have put additional thought into your greeting. Receiving a beautiful card will be a welcome surprise for most.
Decide on your marketing strategy during this time. Send greeting cards to inform customers of their first purchase anniversary, to celebrate their birthday, or simply to touch base and check-in. Choosing physical cards over email or e-cards will make you stand out from other companies. Customers will appreciate the personalized touch and will remember your efforts to make a genuine connection.
During uncertain times in our society, customers and businesses alike can easily become scared. While customers tend to stop spending, businesses tend to stop marketing. However, cutting back on customer engagement can be a dangerous route. Remember that engaging with your customers during these difficult times is crucial.
Focus on being a reassuring and positive force for your existing customers. Continue to reach out and connect with your customers. Greeting cards and gifts are simple and easy ways to do this. When the economic world returns to some form of normality, your customers will remember your company as one of the good ones.