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How to stay connected to your customers in tough times

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When there’s an interruption to the norm and situations become difficult, your customers will be looking to you for reassurance. You need to keep your business going through the disruption, but it’s also vital that you maintain those customer relationships, which may mean changing how and when you speak to them. So, how should you stay connected with your customers when the chips are down? Here are our tips.

Be proactive and don’t make them wait

The most important thing to do is act fast. Don’t let your customers wait forever to hear from you. They’ll likely have a million and one questions and concerns, so put them to rest by getting in touch and communicating with them straight away. Even if you don’t have all the answers immediately, they’ll want to feel reassured, to know what’s going on and how the situation affects them.

Reach out to existing customers via the channels they use most, whether that’s email, social media, or text message. Of course, not every customer will be signed up to receive communications from you, plus you need to let any new potential customers know what’s going on too, so it’s vital to update your website with the latest information. Put a clear message on your homepage and keep it up to date as the situation changes. If you need to go into more detail, why not create a FAQs page?

Show empathy

However you choose to get in touch with your customers and prospects, you need to consider the tone of voice you use. You may be tempted to take a straight-forward, factual tone, but what your customers really want to see in a time of crisis is your human side. Show empathy for what they’re going through, whether that’s longer delivery times or their order being cancelled completely.

Some of these issues may even seem minor to you at first, but to your customers, it could mean a lot, so try to put yourself in their shoes whenever you’re communicating with them.

Check what’s scheduled in and don’t be afraid to change it

From your feedback campaigns to your social media posts, you probably have a fair few marketing activities already scheduled in. When situations start to change, you need to review everything that’s due to go out and tweak it accordingly, or you’ll risk upsetting your customers. After all, you don’t want to continue to ask for feedback on holidays that have been cancelled or events that are delayed, as all you’re going to get are a lot of angry responses, rather than the insight you need.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should stop collecting feedback altogether – here are our tips for adapting your campaigns.

Offer support

If you’re going above and beyond to help address the situation, whether it’s providing extra delivery slots or donating a portion of your profits to charity, make sure you let your customers know! Even if you’ve had to close your business temporarily, acts of kindness can go a long way to maintaining, and even boosting, your brand reputation; so when the difficult period is over, your customers will remain loyal to you – you may even gain some new ones in the process!

Don’t overwhelm your customers

Under normal circumstances, you may send marketing emails to your subscribers every few days, but when times get tough, the last thing your customers want to see are hard-sell emails and social posts. Consumers are feeling fragile; they may be worried about their health, finances and mental wellbeing, among other things.

It’s important to keep your customers up to date with the changes your business is going through, but don’t send them unnecessary communications. That doesn’t mean you can’t keep selling, of course, your business needs to keep going, but try to offer your customers products and services that may actually help them in the current situation, as well as free tips, guides, recipes, activities – whatever’s relevant to your business!

Show customers you’re thinking of them, not your profit margins.

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