Engaging with customers and running a successful business during COVID-19 and other times of uncertainty can put a lot of pressure on business owners. Normal culture, balance, relationships and the market can be shaken up, leaving little concreteness to work with. It is during these times, however, that businesses must bunker down continue to execute their core values and market strategies.
One thing that is critical for future and continued success of businesses, with or without pandemic, are their customer engagement methods. Building customer loyalty, trust, and admiration are always beneficial to the growth of a business, and are also important in maintaining the mutually beneficial relationships between customers and the company.
Even during this time of pandemic, when normal business routines have seemingly disappeared, one is still able to utilize their engagement for success and growth. For the motivated, optimistic entrepreneur, here are four strategies to fuel progress and maintain customer engagement during times of uncertainty.
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1. Help Your Customers Feel Connected to Their Community
Many people may feel lost or disconnected, physically and mentally, during a time of isolation and unfamiliar living or working habits. Support your customer base and audience by keeping them connected and tied to the causes they care about and are interested in by creating or sharing content consistently through your channels of communication. This can expand your brand reach to others in similar communities and networks, while improving engagement with your existing audience.
2. Show Sympathy and Authenticity in Your Marketing
How you respond now speaks volumes to the type of people your business has and the values instilled in your brand. Being genuine in the content put out now can have large negative or positive impacts on your brand, so it is important to be genuine and show your loyalty to your customers by staying attuned to their needs, fears, and different situations.
“Let consumers know that your company understands the dire social circumstances at play and cares about more than simply reaping profit during this difficult time,” wrote Texas Tech business professors Ted Waldron and James Wetherbe in the Harvard Business Review. “Empathize with those affected by Covid-19, and spell out the steps you are taking to help.”
This is a time to be a bigger person and show compassion and humility for your clients and community. Promote smart strategies that have helped your own company and work, and do not be insensitive to the sacrifices many have made for the greater good during this time.
3. Use the Extra Downtime to Think Innovatively
In our usual schedules, we never seem to have enough time. Now, there seems to be an unwanted abundance of it. Take this as a gift, and use the extra time to tackle projects you never got around to, assess how your business functions and its accessibility to others, and think of ways you can improve a product, strategy, or tool you offer to your customers. You can take your business during COVID-19 and really take it in any direction.
4. Utilize Digital Communication Tools
Being physically distant does not mean communication will suffer. Connect with your current audience and potential new networks by getting active on social media. Find out what kind of content best interests them, and how you can help them. Live videos, a message from the CEO, or Q&A’s can bring value to your customer base by bringing them inspiration and a distraction from the constant buzz of the pandemic news. Share underappreciated things like helpful books, podcasts, tutorials, and start conversations with your audience to connect on a deeper level with them! Constant communication digitally can keep their trust and faith in your company going strong during this time, and draw many others to your business as well.