How to communicate with customers during the Coronavirus chaos.

How to keep your customers informed and your business running during the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus.

Coronavirus is everywhere. It’s dominating the news (and my Facebook timeline). It seems to be all anyone can talk about and this is only going to get worse now the football season has been postponed.

No matter what you think about it, whether you think it’s going to be a flash in the pan or have a bleaker view of the situation like Michael Osterholm on the Joe Rogan podcast, you have to admit that nobody knows for sure what the impact will be over the next six months.

Coronavirus is going to create uncertainty for everyone. It’s imperative your business doesn’t add to this uncertainty and can communicate clearly with your customers. In this blog post we’re going to look at the digital marketing tools at your disposal. At times of uncertainty like these, your communications can provide reassurance and assist customers even if it seems like everything else is falling apart.

 

The importance of website updates

It seems ridiculously obvious, but you’d be amazed at the huge number of businesses who forget to update the information on their website. One company I came across recently had changed its phone number but never changed it on their website.

No matter what challenges your business faces – use your website to communicate to your customers. This transparency will lead to a far better customer experience, even if what you’re communicating has a negative impact on them. Customers will be far happier if they feel properly informed about the situation. For retailers, if your supply chain gets disrupted, tell customers in advance that there may be delays. This will not only help to reduce disappointment, but also take the strain off your customer service team when customers find their delivery hasn’t arrived on time.

Use your blog as another way to keep your customers updated. For example, Ground Up Digital will be remaining open for business no matter what Coronavirus brings our way. Our flexible business working practices enable us to continue running as usual… so as long as the internet remains online, we are here and ready to help any local businesses looking to generate more income.

 

Update your Google My Business page

Your Google My Business page is another quick way to display vital information to your customers – especially ones who live in your local area. You are limited with what information you can display, but it’s easy to change details such as your opening hours. If you have to shut, it’s important to change your business hours to closed. Imagine one of your best customers checks Google, and finds you are open. They could drive 30 minutes only to find out that you’re closed. This would reflect badly on your brand and reputation, damaging years of customer loyalty.

 

Post updates on your organic social media channels

Your social media channels are a great way to communicate with customers in real time. With the whole country waiting to see the results of each Cobra meeting, your social channels can help you communicate any last-minute changes. The best example of this is shop owners who may need to close for an hour or two to pick up children.  Another example would be a dog boarder wanting to update customers on whether they are still open for bookings.

 

Use Facebook re-targeting to reach your customers

With so much news and posts being shared, it can be difficult to stand out using organic social media methods. Unless your post is heavily engaged with it’s unlikely to reach enough of your customers.

This is where paid social advertising can really help. Using effective re-marketing strategies you can quickly and effectively send a message targeted straight to your customers.

One such use could be to inform them that you’re open for business still fulfilling orders, or perhaps to announce your recent delivery of toilet rolls! You don’t need premium video content for this, you can simply record a video of yourself using your mobile and explain to your audience the situation.

 

Use Video calls instead of meetings & consultations

If your business is reliant on face to face consultations or meetings, don’t panic! There is no reason these cannot continue as normal, even if we must completely self-isolate. Ground Up Digital work best when we’re in regular communication with our clients. We use video chat tools such as Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts regularly. This can be the same for your business.

Make sure you book meetings using an online calendar system (such as Google or Outlook calendar). Don’t forget to give clear instructions about how to access the call. For example Zoom requires you to download their free software on your phone / computer. Although this can take a few moments the first time, it means going forward you can provide the same customer support (even if you, or your client has to self-isolate).

 

Use email marketing to update your customers

The final way of communicating with your customers is through your email mailing list. This is perfect for communicating big, longer-term business changes.  For example a decision to move all future appointments to video chat.

Recently a great podcasting company called Callum Ronan Creative reached out to us to share that all future podcast recordings would be done virtually. They are using exciting new software with allows each person to contribute in isolation. They then link the audio together in their studio. It was a genius move and as we have a podcast session booked at the end of March, it has enabled us to confidently continue our planning. (Keep your eyes peeled for the podcast which will be uploaded on our blog).

 

If you need any support with any of the above (or anything else), please feel free to get in touch. We’re more than happy to help with advice and guidance.

 

We hope that this blog post has been useful. There is a lot of doom and gloom at the moment around Coronavirus and the impact that it is having on small businesses. If we work together, we can all support each other and come out the other side stronger than ever.