COVID-19 and Why you Need to Reassure Your Customers
We are all in this pandemic together, and while it’s hard to think about your customers when the world is crumbling, they are the most important part of your business–and your customers want to hear from you in a meaningful way.
Take it from a team of marketers, now is NOT a good time to advertise a new product or service. Advertising right now can create the feeling that your brand is insensitive to what is going on in the world. If you keep pushing for sales your customers will turn their backs on you.
Businesses need to reassure their customers. Your customers need you to be a leader in this situation. They need you to show empathy towards their needs and provide innovative solutions.
But before you can truly be there for your customers, you need to understand the psychology behind why the panic is settling in.
3 Emotions Affecting your Customers
As long as we can remember, there has never been a time like this, in which we have to avoid being in contact with others. This situation is, (I’ll use everyone’s favourite word) unprecedented. For social animals like us, social distancing is unnatural and creates feelings of loneliness and isolation. In all other situations, the best way out was to gather and resolve the problem together. Now, we are being forced to socially isolate and loneliness fills our hearts.
With nothing else to do except watch Netflix and think about the end of the world, it’s normal for our thoughts to wander–and they’re probably going in a negative direction.
Everyday we ask ourselves these questions:
Will going to buy this bottle of milk contaminate me?
How do I know if I am a carrier or if I am infected if I’m not showing symptoms yet?
What if I get the coronavirus. Will I die? Or worse, what if I infect someone I love and they suffer because of me?
Are we going to find an effective vaccine?
Will I have enough income to live?
When will life go back to normal?
Without the answers, it’s normal to feel unsettled, overwhelmed, or just plain scared.
Since anyone can be a carrier or contagious, and we’ve seen that there is no pattern to who suffers from the virus, we are all vulnerable and there is danger around us at all times. In wartime, we know who the enemy is and more or less where they will attack from, but nowadays it seems that we are blinded by fog. And the media doesn’t help.
The media only shows the cumulative number of cases, which logically can only increase. Why don't they show viewers the numbers of people who survived rather than those who died? Did you know that as of April 8, 2020, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 83, 568, but the number of those recovered is 308, 617?
EDIT November 13, 2020: Today we have 1,300,340 deaths but 34,305,800 recovered.
The media manipulates either to sell or because if people freak out they will be afraid to leave their home and flatten the curve.
Now that you understand the general feelings of loneliness and uncertainty, and the fears that drive how people behave, let’s see how a business can continue to exist and even thrive under these conditions by being mindful of these emotions.
7 Ways Businesses can Connect with and Reassure their Customers
Can your business help people feel less lonely? Don’t worry if you’re not a virtual video conferencing provider like Zoom, you can help people connect in a different way. Now may not be a great time to do advertising, as it may come across as insensitive but we recommend that you focus on public relation efforts instead.
Use your business’ social media platforms. Engage your community and connect people to each other in the comments of your posts, or by tagging. You can do this by creating a caption with a question meant to spark conversation, or with a caption that asks customers to tag three people they know who would enjoy your post in the comments.
Provide free webinars. Let’s be honest, we all have a little time to spare. Why not use it to write up some useful content for your followers and ask them to join a live webinar. Then record the webinar and post it to your social media channels for those who missed it.
Make videos. Get creative! People love to watch videos and they like to learn new things. If you’re in the restaurant business, put out some videos on how to make your favourite recipes or culinary techniques, if you own a beauty salon, teach people about hair styling, if you’re a digital designer teach people about colour combinations… the possibilities are endless! How about making a tutorial on what to do when coming back from the grocery store? Inform your customers on what they probably don’t know by posting useful information in an entertaining format.
Inform your audience. Be proactive, don’t wait for your customers to call you in a panic. Help your customers feel less anxious by providing answers to questions they are uncertain about. If you’re an accountant, talk about tax updates and take the time to explain the new rules, deadlines, and benefits available to them. Is there a way that you’re adapting to the pandemic by going virtual? Send out a newsletter. For example, some accountants are able to provide a secure client portal to send and receive confidential tax documents.
Inform your customers on COVID-19. It’s unlikely that the first time someone will hear about the virus will be through your business, but time spent putting out useful information is never time wasted. How many times have we heard to wash our hands and not touch our faces? Too many to count. But did you know that the virus can live up to 72 hours on plastic surfaces but only 24 hours on cardboard? Do some research and help your customers.
Reassure your audience on COVID-19. There’s a reason that we use phrases like “we understand” or “like you” when marketing and advertising products–and it’s because everyone needs to feel heard and understood. Now is the time to use these words to empathize and reassure, not sell. Show that you care.
Spread positivity. The media has the negative angles covered, but what are you seeing in your community that is positive? Can you encourage people to be grateful or mindful? How about sharing a meme or two? People need to laugh and they need to be lifted up in this difficult time.
Or, you can Mix it Up!
Try to think about what your customers need and want. For example, parents who are stuck working from home may be going stir-crazy with their kids being at home too. These kids may also feel scared and not understand what is happening in the world. What if you filmed a tutorial for parents who need help explaining these difficult concepts to their children?
Let’s say you create a video explaining how to make a caveman costume. Then in the last part of the video you tell the parents to use the costume to explain to their young children that the world has survived many many thousands of years and that the virus outbreak is just one more thing humans will survive.
Too out there?
How about this: why not offer more to your food delivery? Get creative and give your customers the idea that they can connect with their family even in social isolation by ordering the same food and then calling with Zoom while listening to the type of music you would normally have playing in your restaurant.
What will you do to reassure your customers?
There are many ways to connect with and reassure your customers. Take some of these ideas and brainstorm what you can do right now to make your customers feel a little more comfortable with the pandemic. Will you post a funny toilet paper meme? Write a sincere article? Film a video explaining a useful skill?
Let us know in the comments!