Coronavirus: Why communicating with your customers is more important than ever

We’re in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak and the focus of most businesses is on crisis management. Thinking about troubleshooting is of course really important, but don’t forget to look ahead at the opportunity this period is offering too. 

The changes we’re seeing in consumer behaviour are really a rapid acceleration of existing trends - significantly a shift to digital - and it seems likely they’ll continue even once the crisis is over. With a huge surge in online traffic and activity, this is such an important time for your business to be visible online and echo consumers’ new priorities. Get talking to your customers to make sure you’re relevant and in their minds when the crisis is over and spending power strengthens.

Huge surge in web traffic offers increased opportunity for engagement
There’s been a 70% hike in web traffic around the world, and social media usage is up by 61%. Your customers are more present online than they’ve ever been so don’t miss this chance to engage with them there. Neglecting your social presence and email campaigns may seem like a short-term financial solution as you focus your efforts and cash in other places, but it could harm your business in the long run. Now’s really the time to increase your digital presence as physical advertising becomes less relevant and more eyeballs are online. 

Don’t go quiet - the way you communicate over the next couple of months may make or break your business. Use this time to continue communicating with your existing base but also find future customers online. Maintaining and boosting your message online should make it easier to bounce back once the crisis has been managed - and you may come out stronger!
The way brands deal with the crisis now may influence consumers in the future

During lockdown, the majority of us are staying home, but many will no longer be receiving a salary. Consumer behaviours and priorities are changing, and traditional categories of demand are declining. Use your online presence to cultivate audience loyalty for when they reemerge financially - think of this period as a delay in your sales rather than an end to them. The way you position yourself and communicate your offering now could pay dividends when demand returns.
Consumer spending in China didn’t bounce back immediately after the crisis improved but is now gradually rebounding. However, it’s worth noticing that since the outbreak of coronavirus, consumers have raised their expectations of businesses, and customer experience is more important than ever. Safety and wellbeing are huge priorities: customers are looking for brands who share these values. Your business needs to offer security and transparency to a more anxious public. Retailers and brands that have stayed active and available during the crisis, or have adapted to help those in need such as the elderly or key workers come out favourably. Ask yourself if your crisis management has taken this into account.
Create demand via your online communications

This period will probably influence new lifestyles and transform your customers’ behaviour for good. It’s important to anticipate these potential changes now and work out how to incorporate them in your business offering. Don’t expect things to go back to how they were in a global economy that’s been forecast to shrink by as much as 9% - ask yourself what’s likely to change and how you can meet new demand. 

Offline sales are stalling and behaviour is significantly impacted. Competition will be tougher so make sure you stand out now. Use your channels of communication to stay in touch with what your customers are looking for and make sure your SEO is stronger than ever.

Focus on more active outreach to consumers, especially with a business that’s customer-facing and focused in a busy location. Make sure your customers know what measures you’re putting in place to adapt to their new needs given these circumstances. The pressure is on to make sure you’re as digitally accessible and contactable as possible.
Engaging with your audience online needs to take priority

Consumers have moved online in unprecedented numbers and the likelihood is they’ll stay there. Focusing your offering in the digital sphere is crucial, so make sure you communicate these improvements online. Stay relevant to the even more digital consumer and expand your online presence to prepare for the post-pandemic marketplace. With so much more online traffic, you need to be there too if you want to survive. Luckily there are more customers who are online to find you than ever before.
For more advice on how to handle your digital communications during the COVID-19 crisis check out this article.

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