During this pandemic, every company/brand is experiencing varying degrees of change based on their role, industry, size, and geography. As individuals and organizations, the context has never been more important in all our actions and communication. In the face of the unprecedented scale of this pandemic, it is important to be sensitive towards it and address the issue with tact, empathy, and thoughtful marketing.
With countries, clients, and entire supply chain networks in mandatory lockdown, it is imperative to re-calibrate our communication approach and strategies. Enterprises must stay on top of how this situation would affect customer relationships.
Rephrasing Value Propositions
The shift to remote work provides an opportunity to inform clients and customers about how well we operate and support distributed teams. With customers focusing on supporting their Work From Home (WFH) teams as well, it is essential to change the focus on the content to highlight the value you can provide to remote employees.
As a matter of fact, several firms have come to a grinding halt but that doesn’t imply, the entire industry will be written off. It’s simply a question of figuring out how you can provide value to your customers in a crisis. The messaging needs to be revised to highlight how you can offer support today.
Tuning in to the pulse of customer demands and expectations by re-calibrating the outreach strategy to focus on the value provided will help in reaching both new and old customers who require your services.
The juxtaposition between roles and everyday priorities from pre-COVID19 vs now is stark.
Maintain transparency- customers can and will empathize with a brand that is doing their best. Brands do need to communicate in response to the crisis, as it pertains to their business. It is necessary to communicate about the proactive measures being taken, store closures, or policy updates related to COVID-19. Although these messages might be inundating inboxes, they do add value to customer relationships because they are informative.
A smart way to go about this is to create info-graphics that are visually appealing with credible facts that cut through the panic like nothing else. Info-graphics are likely to get 3x more shares and engagement on social media than any other type of content. They are also 30x more likely to be read completely.
Monitor and review what is being shared on your platform. There is a lot of misinformation being spread and certain fear-based messaging can be very off-putting even as far as detracting potential customers.
Adjusting Campaigns and Content Timelines
Do an audit of your planned campaigns and content. Figure out if any of the pre-scheduled content needs to be stopped. If you have big projects/products in the pipeline, push them back or pause them if you are unsure about its sensitivity in current times.
If a sales email needs to be sent out, brevity is the way to go. Simply let them know that you are there to support them and ask how you can help.
A good way to put customer insights to use would be reaching out to them through their preferred channels to break through the clutter. However, the important thing to keep in mind is to be sensitive to whether the customer is receptive. A tone-deaf, disruptive sales call this week cannot be undone.
This break in content can prove to be advantageous if time in quarantine is spent on devising the next project/product and how to go about it. In addition, as different countries are operating on different timelines of lockdown, keeping an eye out on different geographic locations will help you begin services once the lockdown is lifted.
Support your team
In addition to delivering value through remote working conditions, the sales team needs to be equipped to handle the workload next several weeks of working from home. Creating e-learning content works best given the circumstances. Additionally, these can also be deployed for on-the-go training.
Information regarding the revised value proposition with messaging supporting remote teams and enabling managers to coach remotely goes a long way.
Providing templates to arm representatives for push-back is necessary, but these conversations need to be handled with tact and empathy. Sharing approved messages will help build the relationship, not damage it.
Also, look at creating virtual engagement within the team to keep their spirits high. A way to do that can be identifying Covid heros amongst the groups and applauding them for their acts of kindness.
With looming uncertainty and panic, it is essential to not capitalize on the crisis. Keep insensitive messaging out of your campaigns. No hot sales during this time. You don’t have to strip your brand of emotion – simply put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Think of individual customers or your point of contact with each client.
They are trying to figure this out as well. They are probably pretty preoccupied with supporting their own customers or focused on figuring out how to support hundreds of first-time WFH employees.
Sometimes the best thing is to not contact someone immediately. So, take the time now to slow down and research your prospects before you initiate conversations.
Keeping a meeting might not be their biggest priority right now and that should be respected. Keeping their needs front and centre, preemptively ask prospects if they need to reschedule and if so, ask for a better time slot in the next few weeks.
Remember, trust and the strongest relationships are built in the most difficult times.