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How to Communicate with Customers and Clients during the Pandemic

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The Coronavirus pandemic transformed life, practically overnight! Businesses in every industry are trying new things and finding creative ways to communicate with customers and clients in this unprecedented time. We are all learning the new “best practices” as we go. While we do not have all the answers yet, here are four practical things you can do to communicate clearly with your customers.

Get in touch, but only if you have something relevant to say.

It is essential to keep your customers informed about how you’re responding to the COVID-19 crisis, but only if you have something helpful and relevant to say. Initially, there was an avalanche of emails from businesses that sent email updates to everyone who ever shared their contact information, which resulted in a lot of memes and jokes like this one:

A screenshot of a cell phone Description automatically generated

Do share details about any changes to your products or services. Notify customers if you anticipate any disruption and send updates to them on steps you are taking to keep your employees and loyal customers safe. These are details worth sharing in an email, but do not feel the pressure to join the pandemic-induced mass-email craze.

Update your social media pages with helpful content.

Keep your Facebook, Instagram, and other social media pages updated. Share relevant tips and tricks from your industry. For example, if you are a local bank, share current information about how people can take advantage of various financial aid programs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Provide links to resources that pertain to your customer base.

Think of your social media pages and your website as “knowledge hubs” for your customers. Many of your customers are likely working from home now. Create a database about how they can take advantage of your products or services safely, how to be productive while working at home, and other relevant content.

Don’t keep a “business as usual” approach to marketing.

It might be tempting to pretend that everything is normal, but that is not how the majority of your customers are experiencing daily life. Keeping a “business as usual” attitude risks implying either ignorance or apathy.

While the Coronavirus does not need to be the main focus of your marketing and content, it should be an influence.

Image via Anheuser-Busch -- Nurses
Image via Anheuser-Busch

Companies of all sizes are taking the opportunity to do some positive “cause marketing.”  For example, Budweiser produced a commercial thanking medical staff for their bravery and self-sacrifice during the pandemic, as shown in the photo above.

You don’t need to produce a big television campaign to do some effective “cause marketing.” Highlight the actions of specific businesses and individuals that are supporting your local community. Doing this creates hope and positive energy in a time of crisis.

Use humor very carefully.

Using humor amid a global crisis can be risky. Of course, you do not need to be dark and depressing or serious and stoic all of the time.  Still, use humor with caution and compassion. You don’t know who’s loved ones might be sick, at-risk, or otherwise impacted by current events. If you are planning to write or share humorous content, it’s a good practice to have several people read it to be sure you don’t unintentionally hurt or offend anyone.

Overall, your goal should be to reassure your customers that, even in uncertain times, they aren’t alone, you have their best interests in mind, and your business is trustworthy. If you craft all of your communications with these goals in mind, your small business will create thoughtful, helpful, and encouraging content.

https://www.gainsight.com/blog/5-best-practices-for-crisis-communications-during-covid-19/

https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/how-to-communicate-with-your-customers-during-covid-19/

https://www.klaviyo.com/blog/communication-empathy-coronavirus-customer-marketing

https://www.franchising.com/articles/effective_communication_in_the_family_business_during_a_crisis_like_covid19.html

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