Now is a time where many businesses are unsure about what their future might look like amid the changes we are experiencing with Covid-19. Now more than ever before we are seeing a shift to the digital space as we enter into a new era.
Back in the late 1990's and early 2000's we started to see the emergence of businesses on the internet, particularly with the early adopters here in NZ. By the time I was coming out of my tertiary study in 2007 Google was gaining headway, and many more businesses were adopting an online space with a website. However with the majority of NZ businesses falling in the SME market, many still hadn't take that step.
Next up was the emergence of Social Media sites, like Facebook, as a tool for businesses. This meant that many businesses, both with and without a website, created an online presence with little to no barriers - particularly the financial costs incurred with setting up a good professional website.
Now we are seeing that businesses are shifting again as they need to reimagine their traditional in person/in store model and start looking at ways to sell their products or services in a contactless way.
Of course in times of change there is often an unease and sense of worry, and we can see that many businesses are concerned about how their business will survive in the first instance, and then come to thrive. Without your customers, both existing and new, your business is likely to struggle to survive, let alone come to thrive, so it's important that you retain existing customers and attract new ones.
Here's how you can do just that...
Keep people in the loop - most of us don't like surprises, so keep people in the loop. I have always believed that it's important that customers expectations are managed, and that you under promise and over deliver rather than over promise and under deliver. Now this is even more important. Be realistic with what you can achieve and what you can provide customers with, and communicate this clearly. I would rather be told that my purchase is going to take 10 days to arrive, and it turns up in 8, than be told that it will be here in 5 days and it takes 8.
Connect with regular comms - along a similar line as the tip above is to keep connected with customers through regular communications. This isn't about you trying to sell, sell, sell your products or services, but more about keeping in touch, letting them know what business you can conduct during the current environment, how you are changing things to be able to service them etc.
Keep it real - as I keep hearing on the news and Covid-19 adverts, we're all in this together, and you can share this through your comms. Bring your customers into your world by showing them what is happening behind the scenes, how you are preparing for the changes we are needing to make, and how you are spending your time outside of work if you're comfortable to do so. During this time people want to feel connected, and appealing to the human nature is a great thing to do at this time to create long term pay offs.
Remember to be kind to yourself and others during this time.