With the widespread outbreak of the Corona virus, many companies and enterprises are struggling to address its huge impacts that COVID -19 brings. Especially, social distancing causes many difficulties and challenges in staying active and getting in touch with customers. A recent Gallup report shows that 100 leaders of the CHRO Roundtable held a meeting to discuss useful COVID-19 plan to respond to the COVID -19 pandemic. All leaders agreed that one of their difficulties is disruptions in the capacities to meet customers’ demands.
So, the questions raised are, how can we engage with customers in times of crisis? Which COVID-19 plan should companies apply?
Why customer engagement is of great significance
Customer engagement has become the fundamental factor for both in-store and online retailers. Many companies now are focusing on the ways to increase customer engagement and bring them wonderful shopping experience.
First, highly engaged customers will increase company revenue. They have a tendency to come back to you and buy products and goods more frequently. So, companies can get more Repeat orders and save much money on customer acquisition costs.
Moreover, royal customers are less likely to complain their dissatisfaction about shopping experience in public. Instead, they tend to solve problems directly with the stores and outlets.
According to a recent study by Sitecore, customer engagement increases company revenue by 23%.
Moreover, royal customers are very beneficial in widening customer networks for the company. When they feel satisfied with the goods quality and staff behaviors at one store, they can highly recommend their friends and relatives to make purchases.
Mashable’s report indicated that 70% of customers believe brand suggestions from their friends. Therefore, you can minimize your cost in engaging with new customers. Especially, at the times of crisis, building COVID-19 plan to engage customers online becomes more important than ever.
Top COVID- 19 plan to engage with your potential customers
In these strange times, it’s important to build creative strategies and COVID- 19 plan to appeal customers. Remember that many people are suffering physical, emotional and financial burdens at that time. So be careful your communication approach.
Think carefully about ways to help your customers see values and benefits you can bring.
1. Build a 24/7 hotline
Many customers think that your companies may hit pause during quarantine. So, tell them that you’re always here for them. Your company can set up a block of time for customers to freely raise questions and concerns about products and services. You can also create chat box so customers can find to your companies when they need advice or help.
Show your customers that you always follow up them and be ready for help when needed.
2. Offer more special rewards or discounts through donation
In the time that most people turn to activities to fight against COVID-19, doing volunteer work is a smart choice. And your company also builds COVID- 19 plan to draw attention from customers.
Your company can cooperate with some charity funds or volunteer organizations to help those who are suffering from Coronavirus. You can add an option of donating products in your catalog.
So, when customers click to buy products as donation, they can get special rewards such as gift cards, increased loyalty points and discount code. The profit gained from selected products and items will be delivered to the volunteer organizations. Your customers can use these rewards for the next orders, thus increasing your revenue and productivity too.
3. Hold online events and offerings
During the time of crisis, holding offline events and conferences is definitely out of reach. So, companies need to think about online marketing strategies and COVID- 19 plan.
Your target is to connect and engage customers even they are at home. Try webinars, Facebook Live videos and online conferences applying digital tools like Zoom or Hangouts. You can hold Instagram live to answer questions and concerns of customers or share what your company is doing to face the virus.
Let’s have a look at the example of A Stroke of Genius, an inferior decorating company. The impacts of Covid-19 ask the company to change their marketing strategy and establish effective COVID- 19 plan.
Instead of directing working with clients and manufacturers, the company builds virtual consultations and project management. Moreover, they also invite customers to join decorating and design challenges via Instagram.
Well, it’s a superb idea to engage customers!
4. Regularly update your website
In the time of crisis, your website is a reliable and trustworthy source for customers to find information. Your customers avoid gatherings or going out, so they tend to look for updated information from the comfort of home. Therefore, regularly updating your website is a must-do COVID-19 plan for your company.
Here are some information that you should consider when updating website:
- Which stores are currently open or closed
- Opening and closing hours in the time of COVID-19
- Which products and service your company is offering
- How they can connect you (hotline, phone, email)
- Which your company do for sanitary practices
- Links to other content
- Links to official government and health websites
You need to show customers how your company is handling with the virus to protect them, your employees and the community.
5. Make the full use of social media
Obviously, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Pinterest and Instagram is an ideal COVID-19 plan to keep your customers engaged and connected, especially in the time of COVID- 19 pandemic.
But the success of social media strategy replies on what and how you convey your message. Many companies and retailers fail to engage with customers as their content on social media only focuses on promoting companies and products.
To truly reach to customers, your content need to be relevant, about- and include- customer.
Here are some principles when you communicate on social media:
- Be careful with your information: We are living in the world full of fake news. The information you circulate on social media greatly decide your company reputation. So ensure that your information is reliable and trustworthy.
- Focus on relevant information: As mentioned below, information that reflects exclusively about stories and products may annoy some customers. Therefore, your company must share what your customers care about such as ways to access to customer support, opening and closing hours, your current status (still open or closed) and your actions to prevent Corona virus.
- Use the right tone: You need to maintain professional tone on all posts or interaction on social media channels. Be polite, friendly and constructive with the ways you respond to comments or feedback on social media. The reason is because they reflect how your company treat and value your customers.
6. Connect live when needed
With the development of modern technology and e-commerce, digital interaction is increasingly replacing physical interaction. However, live interaction both in online or offline still take an important role in creating loyal customer communities.
Live events bring companies a great chance to engage with customer network. It also a wonderful place for customers to get to know each other.
Clif Bar, REI, and Lululemon manage to build loyal customer communities by holding different activities for sporty customers. Sony organizes an event at a mall in the south of California, where customers can try its X headphone series.
During the complex time of COVID-19 pandemic, companies can make in-store 1:1 appointments to bring the complete customer experience at store but still obey the guidelines of the government, state and local health departments.
7. Future plans for business growth
Obviously, you need to build COVID-19 plan to respond to virus at the moment, but don’t consider these plans as long-term strategies. The content and ads that have a high volume in traffic may not bring the same effects when the pandemic is over.
Therefore, don’t just focus on content associated to Corona virus. Your companies needs to build marketing strategies that benefits your companies even after the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled.
In a nutshell, pivoting your business strategies and plans at the time of crisis is of great importance. The article is truly a collection of useful COVID-19 plan that your companies can follow to engage your customers.