No matter what services or products you provide, it’s all about building that relationship back up with your customers.
The key to connecting with clients is being sensitive to their needs. You do not know how lockdown has affected them, so you must tread carefully. They may have been impacted financially, or in terms of their physical and mental health.
Uniting your teams
The first step is ensuring your sales, marketing and customer service teams are all working together from the same data, so everyone is on the same page. Otherwise, you will have only a fragmented image of your consumers and their journey, making it impossible for your team to serve them at peak efficiency.
Getting everyone on the same page is essential to re-connecting not only with your customers but also with each other. If you have been working remotely from home since the first Covid-19 lockdown began in March 2020, it will be a case of easing everyone back to a sense of normality.
Having a face-to-face meeting with all team members to get you off to a flying start is a sensible idea. While video conferencing has been a godsend during the pandemic, surveys show 84% of people still prefer meeting in person.
The late American business magnate Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc, was a firm believer in meeting face-to-face. He advised business people not to give in to the temptation of trying to develop ideas solely by email and other digital means. “Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions,” he said in an interview.
Don’t ditch digital!
This doesn’t mean you should ditch digital altogether, however. While everyone is craving those in-person connections to prove we’re on our way back to normality, it pays to have the option of video conferences with customers and suppliers.
Going back to the point that you don’t know how clients have fared during the pandemic, some might not be comfortable meeting you in person yet. It’s useful to be able to host a hybrid meeting, if necessary, where delegates can attend either in person or via a video link, depending on what best suits them.
We’re still navigating uncertain times and it remains a new “business as usual” work ethic until the virus is officially eradicated. In a nutshell, businesses need to redefine “normal”.
Using a personal tone
Over the past 18 months, you will have spent time honing your digital marketing and communications strategy, recognising the power of a well-crafted email campaign. The tone of your emails remains extremely important. You need to know your audience in order to adopt the correct personalised tone.
By bringing together all your teams, perhaps for the first time since the lockdowns began, you can unite to assess the needs and challenges your customers face. This is essential in order to deliver appropriate communications.
One of the good things to emerge from the pandemic is a more compassionate approach to workplace management. Businesses that perhaps weren’t adopting a people-centred approach before will certainly be doing so now.
Customers have increasingly sought a more personal, “human” approach during the pandemic, according to market research by Deloitte. An analysis of 1,000 respondents across several countries, including the UK, has highlighted the collective anxiety many people are still experiencing in relation to Covid-19.
Making people feel safe
Despite signs of improvement and the relaxation of most of the lockdown regulations, many consumers still don’t feel safe engaging in once-normal activities. Only 49% of respondents felt completely safe going shopping in a physical store.
This translated to 53% of respondents saying they still preferred to buy only brand names they trusted, at least over the next few weeks, as they associated trust with a greater sense of personal well-being.
The results suggest people aren’t simply buying a branded product for the sake of it – they are buying a product that they trust. They are seeking assurances through a brand’s good name.
As a business, you must take this into account when reconnecting with your clients post-lockdown. Sometimes, it can be as easy as asking how you can help. Voice your support for dealing with their current challenges. Move your focus away from simply achieving your own goals and support your clientele by meeting their needs too.
Tell people they matter
Humanise your marketing efforts and your brand by making sure your customers feel they matter and that their voice is being heard. Give them opportunities to discuss feedback with you directly by using satisfaction surveys, an online forum for customers, direct outreach, or social media.
Provide guides on how your products can help people to navigate through a crisis. Even if your services aren’t the most relevant to the current situation, provide cleverly worded content geared up to surviving after the pandemic. It’s important to recognise that things are unlikely to be truly “normal” for some time.
Remember, people are more interested in interacting in person when possible. Everyone has had their fill of solely digital communications: more than 300 million people, all over the world, met daily via Zoom during the lockdowns, an increase of 2,900% since 31st December 2019.
Now, it’s down to you to create a blend of communication that ensures you’re meeting clients’ needs, while keeping your employees and customers safe. Think face-to-face meetings in clean, hygienic, sanitised venues, combined with digital communications where necessary.
Make sure your brand is a trusted one that people will use by easing smoothly out of the lockdown mentality and into the post-pandemic “new normal”.