The importance of keeping your customers engaged during Covid-19
24 August 2020
Lockdown may be easing, and businesses are certainly seeing encouraging signs of recovery, but Covid-19 seems to have also impacted customer engagement.
Customer expectations seem to be higher than ever. The note at the top of most websites that says something along the lines of ‘Because of Covid-19, our service levels may not be as high as usual’ certainly will not do much to reassure customers.
How then, can we all keep our customers informed, engaged, and ultimately coming back for more? The solution is the same as it always has been; communicate.
In a stressful time, the best thing we can do is communicate with our customers. Be proactive and responsive to ensure they do not lose confidence in your business. Whether you are buying a new gadget or buying a new house, your expectations need to be managed.
We have defined three principles for effective customer communications: automation, standardisation, and proactivity. These three principles will help to keep your customers on-side and engaged with your business.
We all know that speaking to someone is often the best way to communicate, but with limited resources available, we need to find an alternative way to ensure our customers know what is going on.
It’s not ground-breaking but automating key updates to customers will help to keep them engaged and informed. One of the biggest challenges we face is managing expectations, automated communications will ensure that customers are up to date with the latest information regarding their purchase or project.
Automation doesn’t have to mean impersonal. Instead of sending direct, templated emails, you could trigger tasks and actions to communicate directly with a customer. This way, if it’s delivering news that isn’t in line with your original service expectations, such as communicating delays, you’ll be reminded to do so.
TIP: Start with a process map and consider the opportunities where you could communicate more often with a customer and think how that process would look if you could automate the email/letter/call.
Standardising your customer communications will ensure a consistent level of service is felt by all your customers. They will receive the same updates each time they work with you.
Standardising responses also saves time. Whether handling a customer complaint, or updating a customer over the phone, sticking to a proven script will help to manage your customer’s expectations.
I touched on this earlier but being ahead of bad news is more important than delivering an exceptional service in the first place. Acting proactively and ensuring a robust service recovery method is in place with your business can turn your detractors into promoters.
Here’s a great article from the Harvard Business Review that goes into more detail on the art of service recovery: https://hbr.org/1990/07/the-profitable-art-of-service-recovery
The principle of proactivity is also vital for your dormant customers; those that have purchased once or twice but have not worked with you recently. A proactive account management approach or even an automated email could encourage future engagements.
In truth, no one element of these three principles stands alone. To truly engage your customers in these COVID times, or at any time, you need to apply all three across your entire customer journey.
That can seem daunting, but with the cost of acquiring new customers five times higher than retaining existing customers, can you afford not to?
We have the expertise and the software to help you. So, if you would like to discuss how we can help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can do so by calling the office on 01772 823734 or selecting one of the options below