This is an unprecedented time for many of us, and with the COVID-19 outbreak taking front and center in all of our news-feeds, it can leave you wondering how you should best communicate with your customers. Let’s discuss this.
1 – Provide Reassurance
Humans are biologically built to return to homeostasis (a state of normal) as quickly as possible. Right now, your customers are in a state of upheaval. Nothing is normal for them – they’re working from home (or maybe not at all), they’re homeschooling their kids, they’re stocking up on supplies while in self-quarantine, they’re practicing social distancing and missing their friends and family.
Your customers are looking for any shred of normalcy. Be that for them – show up for them like you always do. Let them know you’re not going anywhere – that you’re adjusting just like they are, but you’re still there to help them in any way you can.
Be the grounding element they can focus on.
2 – Have Empathy
It’s easy to use humor to deflect serious topics or provide a bit of levity – which isn’t a bad thing – but remember, this outbreak is hitting closer to home for some.
Put yourself in the shoes of the single mom who makes her money in the service industry, now having to stay home with her two and four-year-olds, not knowing where her next paycheck is coming from and trying to navigate how to apply for unemployment.
Put yourself in the shoes of someone who just lost their dad to this virus.
Put yourself in the shoes of someone who can only speak to their grandparents from outside their window with messages written in markers.
For many, the fear and panic and anxiety and isolation are very real. It’s not just about the daily adjustments to life during quarantine; it’s also about the emotional toll it takes as people wrestle with the unknown and worry about their loved ones.
Be mindful of what your customers are feeling and speak to them in that place. Sometimes they may need a compassionate message, and sometimes they may need some humor to lighten the news feed.
3 – Keep Calm & Pivot
You’re a leader to your customers. They look to you as the expert in your field, and they follow you for a reason. Now is the time to show up as that leader. Be real with them, yes, but show them how leaders carry on by making necessary pivots.
- For restaurants – offer takeout and delivery to keep them fed.
- For retailers – point them to your website to get what they need.
- For consultants – offer screen shares and phone calls.
- For fitness services – offer video classes and training sessions.
- For educational services – offer webinars and online school work.
Show them why you’re the best in the industry – because you’ll problem solve through anything to keep serving them.
4 – Help Them Pivot Too
Think about your industry – how can you help your customers adjust to our new normal for the next month or so?
- Can you provide them minimal ingredient recipes?
- Can you help them nail at-home workouts with cans of diced tomatoes and tubs of mayonnaise?
- Can you help them adjust their thinking quicker than they could adjust on their own?
- Can you provide the community through a Facebook Group?
- Can you help them mitigate the panic and fear they’re feeling?
Can you afford to offer your product for free or at a discount if it’d help your customers navigate this time? We’ve seen meditation apps give their services away for free, credit card companies allow deferred payments, screen share, and recording services offer their products for free to schools and universities, distilleries are making hand sanitizer from their product and giving it away for free – and MANY more companies are pulling up their bootstraps and finding a way giving back right now.
Show your customers how to pivot right alongside you.
5 – Love Them
Above all – love on your customers. Show up as humans first, and a business second.
People want to feel like we’re all in this together. This isn’t the time to make a quick buck. Have a service that could really help them right now? Great – offer it. Can you afford to discount it or give it away for free? Even better.
Whatever you do – say it, do it, give it in love.
In the end, Maya Angelou’s words say it all,
“People won’t remember what you said or did, they’ll remember how you made them feel.”
Go out there and make your people feel loved.