Over the last few months, the world has changed beyond all recognition. One day high-streets were bustling, filled with people rushing around, going about their normal lives or enjoying days out with friends and family, the next, shops were closed, streets were empty, and looking in from the outside, life seemed to have stopped.
Of course, life hasn’t stopped. But for many of us, it has become much smaller. No longer can we go out and do what we want when we want. Our favourite shops, restaurants, cinemas, and gyms are closed, and unless you are a key worker, you might have spent much of the last 12 weeks in your home, with other members of your household.
It’s been a challenging time for all of us, whatever we do. But, if you run a small business, you may have worries and anxiety that other people don’t have to face. You might not be able to operate as usual as your brick and mortar store has been forced to close. Even if you are still trading online, business may be slow, and you might be doing everything that you can think of to make sure that when life returns to something approaching normal, you’ve still got a business to work with. If you are going to make it work, keeping in touch with your customers is absolutely crucial.
The Importance of Keeping In Touch
Perhaps the most basic reason to keep in touch with your customers is so that they don’t forget you. They’ve got a lot going on at the moment too, and shopping might not be a priority. Loyal customers will remember you no matter what, but newer customers might forget if they don’t hear from you for a while.
Keeping in touch is also a great way to let your customers know what you can do for them. Whether your business is open usually, with changes, or not at all, but still offering other services or contact. If they don’t hear from you, they may assume that you have closed down.
Of course, as well as growing your business and making money, there’s also the fact that keeping in touch is a nice thing to do. Some of your customers might not have much contact with the outside world right now, and contact from businesses can be a big boost. It’s a wonderful opportunity to grow your reputation and increase customer loyalty. With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can keep in touch with your audience during a global pandemic.
Putting Real Life First
Keeping in touch or even focusing on your business, is going to be difficult if you are worried, anxious, upset, or stressed out. Before you think about business, you need to put your real-life first. If you are worried about your personal finances you might want to look at Buddy Loans, you may also want to spend some time catching up with friends and family and getting into a healthy routine with good sleep habits and exercise. Put yourself first if you need to, it will make business easier.
Utilise Social Media
Social media is perhaps the easiest way to communicate with your audience. Hopefully, you already have a decent online presence, and an engaged following. If not, the simple act of using social media more will help.
Get online. Update your social platforms with relevant information, like opening hours, communications channels, and information on how your customers can continue to support your business at this difficult time. Then, reach out. Ask how everyone is, comment on people’s posts, share pictures, and videos, and spend time engaging with your audience. Even just liking their posts will remind them that you are there.
Try Something New
This is a great time to try something new. Get on TikTok, try some live Q&A’s on Instagram or Facebook, use stories to let your followers ask you questions, and film some behind the scenes footage, showing people what is going on in your business now, or how you create your products.
Share Useful Content
Could you share other useful content? Tutorials on how to use your products or other helpful information. Perhaps you could even branch out and offer useful advice on how to cope with the current crisis, or just share resources that you have found helpful.
Share Your Strategy and Regular Updates
What’s going on? Most people are confused right now; they don’t know how long lockdown might last, or when their favourite shops will be reopened. You might not know yourself when things will be normal again, or even if your business will ever go back to what it used to be. But, you should still let your customers know what you know. Keep them updated on changes to your business, and reassure them by sharing what you are doing to keep your staff safe.
Get Involved in Your Local Community
If you’ve got some extra free time, it’s a great chance to start building your reputation and connecting with other businesses by helping out in your local community. There may be charity initiatives or other schemes that you could join, helping people that need it the most.
Listen to What Your Customers Have Got to Say
Listening is a key element of communication, but one that is often overlooked. When communicating with your customers, make sure you listen to what they have got to say, answer their questions when you can, and empathise with their situations, remembering that their lives have changed too.
Look to The Future
Your plans may not be set in stone right now. That might not be something that is possible. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t look to the future. Think about how you could open safely, put tentative plans in place for the future, but be prepared to make further changes.
This is an uncertain time, but by finding ways to communicate and maintain relationships with your customers, you manage to strengthen your business as we move into the next uncertain phase of this process.