The Coronavirus pandemic has had an undeniable effect on the U.S. and global economies. Executives and business owners everywhere are feeling these effects and adjusting their strategies for the weeks and months ahead. From operational adjustments to shifts in communications strategies, one thing is clear: what worked eight weeks ago might not work today.
When surveying our clients, they selected "difficulty staying connected with customers" as the number one challenge they are facing during these times. With temporary or partial closures, staffers working remote, and many in-person events canceled, it's no wonder this is a top concern. However, with a little creativity and sound technology, you can maintain the same level of communication as you previously had with your customers.
Post Important Updates On Your Website
If you are making adjustments that impact your customers and prospects, the first place they will check for information is your website. You can post updates on scheduling changes, new protocol for visitors and appointments, how to access services at home, and more.
We created a COVID-19 response page on our website to address these items and discuss our plans moving forward.
Keep In Touch With Email and Social Media
While you might not be able to host workshops or client appreciation events right now, you can communicate important updates via email marketing and social media. Our partners at HubSpot are offering a lot of value for businesses impacted by COVID-19, offering many of their tools at a steep discount or even free. You can take advantage of email marketing, 1:1 video sales, and a full CRM for $50/mo. Learn more.
Facebook is also supporting business pages by offering free COVID-19 resources. You can access these resources from your page manager as shown below:
VOIP Phone Systems
As many employees are now working remotely from their homes, a unified phone system is important for maintaining consistency in communication with your customers. With a robust VOIP phone system, your employees can literally unplug their phone from their office's jack and plug it in near their desk at home. Their phone, voicemail and extension will work exactly the same. They can also use an app on their smartphone to accept office calls.
Web Meetings and Virtual Events
Continue your regularly scheduled meetings with virtual meeting tools like Microsoft Teams, Webex or Zoom.
If you were planning a workshop or a lunch-n-learn, you don't have to cancel it! If the content can be just as valuable in a virtual environment, consider hosting it as a webinar. For webinars with larger audiences, tools like Zoom Webinars and GoToWebinar are good option. For even larger events like conferences or trade-shows, consider Hopin.
Protip: Keep your webcam on during virtual meetings. It might feel a little strange the first few meetings, you'll get used to it in no time. And for folks who haven't had much human interaction in weeks, seeing your smiling face will be a welcome addition to the meeting!
At Nexxtep, we use Slack for employee communication. It's easy, secure, and even fun to use. If you don't have an office instant messaging system, now is a great time to get one. Slack and Microsoft Teams are a couple of options. You might be thinking: what does this have to do with communicating with our customers? Believe me, if you have employees working from home but calls and questions coming in to the office, you'll need to get in touch with those employees quick to get the answers your customers need.
These are just a few ways you can stay connected. I'm sure we could come up with countless more, but the point I want to drive home is this: now is not the time to go in hiding. With everyone feeling uncertain about the days ahead, it's more important than ever to keep the lines of communication open between your company and your customers.