Navigating customer engagement is a difficult task at the best of times -- and in the era of social distancing, it might feel impossible. Customer behaviors have changed and people are now more cautious, skeptical, and distant.
Amidst social distancing, interacting and retaining customers without the typical in person and face-to-face contact is a challenge. As consumer preferences change, your business needs to accommodate the shift and refine its strategy.
So how do you reach out to customers and boost engagement in a time like this? Let’s find out.
Blending Customer Engagement with Social Distancing
Customer engagement and social distancing don’t always mix -- not in the traditional sense at least. With new digital innovations and technology, you can accommodate this new kind of consumer that’s emerged and engage with them online.
Here’s how you can continue boosting customer engagement while also keeping social distancing in mind.
Understand That Things Are Different and Adjust Your Strategy Accordingly
All of us have been affected by the pandemic in some way or another. The way you communicate with your customers has to account for these changes and appeal to a new set of consumer preferences.
This means altering how, when, and where you communicate with customers. Because face-to-face interactions are extremely limited, you have to find new and safe ways to supplement your typical communication with customers. This can encompass a variety of types of content including (but not limited to):
- Social media;
- Email campaigns;
- Checklists; and
You might also want to consider revisiting the way you message or sell your business and focus on ensuring safety or simply restoring confidence. It isn’t always about selling your business to people; it’s about being empathetic during a difficult time, demonstrating that you are here to help, and building trust.
It’s your time to demonstrate that you are listening and hear their frustrations; that you understand the struggles they are experiencing. You can do this by communicating the steps your business is taking to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Refrain from making every interaction a sales pitch. If you try to sell to a customer during an inappropriate time, you risk coming across as tone-deaf and losing the customer entirely.
Move Your Business Online
Many businesses have undergone or are in the process of a complete digital transformation to maintain customer engagement while simultaneously being mindful of social distancing.
Moving your business online isn't just for e-commerce companies. From mechanics, to salons, and construction businesses, having an online presence is key to building like, know, and trust with your audience. Service-based small businesses must find new ways to communicate to the communities they serve.
Keep in mind that even if your business already has a website, you can step up your game and build a deeper digital connection with customers and expand your digital footprint.
Going fully digital enables your business to communicate with current and potential customers online in a safe, quick, and convenient way, which your customers will appreciate. When you move online, you make your business easily accessible to everyone, anytime, and from any location.
A digital transformation consists of:
- Revamping your website design to make it mobile-first and responsive;
- Offering 24/7 support with a business messenger tool or website live chat;
- Checking your listings in local business directories;
- Ensuring all of your information is accurate and up-to-date across all platforms; and
- Improving your local SEO so you can found online.
Provide Value in Every Interaction
In times of uncertainty, your customers will look to you for guidance and reassurance. When you engage customers, make sure to provide value every single time. You can do this by offering informative content that is relevant and useful.
In addition to providing helpful resources and being a source of knowledge for them, you can take it upon yourself to explain how your business is providing a solution to their problems and quelling their concerns -- demonstrate how all consumers can benefit -- especially during a pandemic -- from engaging with your brand and choosing your business over your competitors.
Implement Self-Service Tools
Self-service tools provide a way for your customers to get answers to their questions immediately. So it comes as no surprise that 81 percent of customers attempt to resolve issues themselves before reaching out to a live representative.
In the times of physical distancing, it can be critical. If people don’t go to your brick-and-mortar location to purchase your products or services, they’re likely to turn to the internet and do it online. This means that your employees might be burdened with an increased volume of requests via phone or email as issues inevitably surface.
But, not all questions require a live service representative. Providing efficient and effective ways for customers to get answers via a self-service platform reduces unnecessary waiting times for customers and makes them more likely to engage with your business in the future.
Here are a few popular self-service options to consider:
- A comprehensive knowledge base;
- An AI-based chatbot; and
- Customer forums.
Improve Customer Engagement with CRM Software
All of these adjustments require you to have a well organized and easily accessible contact database. This can be made possible with the right CRM solution. You want to make your communication efforts to be personalized and as specific as possible, while also keeping track of all of your customer’s information. GoSite’s CRM software can help.
Use GoSite’s CRM software to stay connected to your customer base and build rich customer profiles. Centralize and streamline your customer data so that you can send content when it's appropriate and never jeopardize a customer relationship again.
It’s pretty clear by now that social distancing is here to stay. The shift in customer behavior won’t resume to normal when the pandemic subsides. When your business is fully open again, there will be a significant portion of the consumer public that opts out of visiting your physical location.
I see it this way: Your business has two options. You can either refine your strategy and boost customer engagement or you can do nothing and watch your customer base shrivel. Which option will you choose? The choice is yours.