Effective communication before the pandemic was already a challenge for a lot of businesses. The new normal has brought around changes that no one had expected in terms of their severity and their wide-ranging implications.
- 9 percent of small businesses in the US suffered moderately negative effects due to COVID-19. [Statista]
- The International Monetary Fund projects the global economy to grow around 6 percent. [IMF]
- 80 percent of small businesses are not fully using the advantages that modern technology provides. [SEMrush]
Here are some of the best ways for businesses to communicate with customers in the new normal:
1. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers
The pandemic has impacted almost everyone in one way or another. Most industries have also suffered quite a bit.
But as things are starting to head towards some form of normalcy, it’s important to remember that things are still far from what they used to be before the pandemic. Families are still recovering from the past and are trying to move forward.
Sixty-eight percent of consumers believe that when companies send them proactive customer service notifications, it increases their perception of a brand. [Microsoft]
In this scenario, if your business comes out guns blazing, then you can forget about retaining your customers. You might end up facing the wrath of people on social media and how your business chose profit over people.
Putting yourself into the shoes of your core customers gives you a content marketing edge as it will help you understand what your customers are going through. Coming up with solutions to these new points and communicating them to your audience is vital to business success in the new normal.
To make gains in the new normal, your business will need to change its tone and approach to customer interactions. Empathy and going out of your way to do good for your customers will not only help you gain your customer’s trust, but it will also make your business brand memorable.
Unfortunately, although research has shown that 68% of customers expect brands to demonstrate empathy, only 37 percent say brands generally demonstrate empathy.
2. Revise your customer communication strategy from the bottom up
The magnitude of the pandemic has rocked the world. It’s safe to say that the strategies set in place before will not work as well in a post COVID society.
A good customer communication strategy needs to cater to different customer segments. Not every customer persona will be the same. Their expectation from your business won’t be the same either.
Thirty-three percent of consumers in the USA don’t expect a response when asking a question of a company’s social media [Statista].
However, nearly 50 percent of consumers expect a response within an hour when asking questions or complaints on social media, while 18 percent expect an immediate response [American Express].
You will need to make sure that every single one of your customers is looked after and cared for. Taking this microscopic approach to customer interactions and customer service is going to help you stand out from your competition in the new normal.
If your business’s customers have a lot of differences in terms of demographics, then the way you reach out to them should be different. Your content needs to be on point as well.
Business development specialists from Paybis believe that our strategy should incorporate different channels that you can use to reach your customers. You should also have the data to understand and plan out which channel is most effective in reaching out and spreading a message to a certain customer segment.
3. Stay in touch with your customers regularly
Forty percent of Americans believe that recently businesses have greatly focused their attention on customer service [AE].
Staying in touch frequently is one of the best ways to maintain communication in the new normal.
Ninety-five percent of consumers believe that customer service is one of the crucial factors in choosing and loyalty to a brand [Microsoft].
People remember these sorts of things.
If you missed the opportunity to connect with your customers during the height of the pandemic, your business can still pull through.
There are several marketing strategies that you can reach your customers. The most personal would definitely be a phone call, but these days, not everyone is comfortable talking to people on the phone
You can choose to get in touch with your customers via emails and newsletters. This will help update your customers on the latest news from your business. Sending in a mix of highly personalized emails and standard promotional emails might work best for the majority of businesses.
Social media platforms give you an opportunity to communicate with your customers on a daily basis if you choose to do so. Messaging and communicating on social media isn’t intrusive as your customers are most likely scrolling through their feeds anyway.
Another thing that you should keep in mind is that even the companies that ignored high-quality communication in the past will be paying a lot more attention to it now. Your competition to retain customer attention and loyalty will naturally increase as well.
Your business will need to constantly remind your audience that you’re present and are looking out for their best interests as well.
4. Be genuine
Communication between businesses and customers needs to be genuine.
If customers feel that your message is not up to the mark or what they expect from you, your customers will definitely let you know. Even in times of crisis, you should not deviate from the right path.
In the new normal, there is this unsaid expectation from businesses to be open and to give their audiences greater insights into the situation of the business.
Thirty-three percent of customers who left a business relationship last year did so due to a lack of personalization [Accenture].
Ask a person on the street about the kind of company that they want to hear from. One of the responses that you’re sure to get is the company doesn’t spice things up too much. They don’t hide facts that might impact the customer and they also take steps to ensure transparency.
If you can’t provide value to your customer base (debatable), you should at least talk to them in a way that is authentic. People who have been affiliated with your business for a long time will appreciate you “keeping it real.”
5. Provide value to your customers consistently
What hasn’t changed in the new normal is the need or demand for companies to provide value to their customers.
Most business owners would agree that regardless of the circumstances, customers would want not only better communication but better products and services as well.
Eighty-nine percent of consumers have switched to a competitor following a poor customer experience [Harris Interactive].
Engaging and caring for your customers will increase sales metrics and improve your overall ROI. Communicating in the new normal, although challenging, can give you fresh insights into the way your customers perceive things. You can use this newfound information to better reach out to them, personalize experiences and provide true value to your customers consistently.
As the dust is finally starting to settle, the new normal is becoming clearer.
There is a need for change in several business processes and areas. Communication and finding the best ways to reach customers post-pandemic is essential for business success in the present and future.
Over time, the strategies put in place now will be evaluated. Businesses that are open to change and adopting new ways of communication will be in the best position for future success.