All relationships hold an emotional component which molds the connection between people and brands. Your business’s relationship with your customers is built over time, and brought up by experiences that consist of both online and in person touch points throughout their customer journeys. These experiences are grounded by expectations and confirmed through repeated interactions.
A crisis is what puts all your strengths and weaknesses under the spotlight. As with the coronavirus pandemic, it’s not just any crisis – forcing people to physically be separated from their friends, extended family members, workplace and favourite places. This all requires individuals along with organisations to adapt to a more digital and remote way of doing business, which is causing a drastic alteration into people’s daily experiences.
As a business leader, the question is, how do you help people thrive when they are in such a fearful, stressed, and longing for an authentic human connection? How do you alleviate the impact of this coronavirus as it takes over every aspect of your business like a slow-motion tsunami?
Don’t let the sudden panic shake your customer focus
If you’re a B2C company, your most important stakeholders right now are human beings who are craving comfort and connection, and suddenly pushed towards a need for a new customer experience (CX). This is where your shift in mindset is needed, to change your perspective from thinking about how you can grab market share and how you can boost your top line to counteract with the economic carnage you’re currently facing towards a how do I support my customers in a more meaningful, human and relevant way.
What customers truly care about most right now are actually changing. Brands that have the best prices, coolest products or most memorable marketing campaigns might not have any advantages when compared to those brands that are exhibiting emotional intelligence and communicating with care, honesty, empathy, and building trust. In times of crisis like these, people want to be seen and understood as they’re extremely sensitive to tone and motive. So, are you reaching out to help them or sell to them? Does your outreach feel authentic and caring or does it appear as self serving?
This is why you must keep in mind that the impact of your actions today will most definitely outlast this pandemic and define the loyalty people have towards you and your brand. Therefore the messages you put out, must be grounded in the actual experience and needs of your customers – they should also match your credibility to deliver to them. If you can work on building your customers’ trust this way, it will have a lasting effect in the future.
Discover ways to make digital – more human
B2B companies had typically encountered customers through physical (in-person), remote (via phone or mail) and digital (via online support and sales). Up until now, you may have prioritized efficiency – transitioning human interactions wherever possible towards automated or digital ones. The irony is that amidst this COVID 19 outbreak, making those experiences simple and efficient is no longer good enough. You must become more human across your virtual channels, because people can’t get that touch in other ways. So you’ve got to think about how you would work around embedding human interactions, being honest with your customers around what has changed and surprising them with unexpected gestures of care.
You must also not be afraid of imperfections. Companies often talk around the importance of having agility and the need to fail fast in order to move forward and succeed. This couldn’t be a better time to put this concept in action. If you’re being authentic and actually trying to help your customers, they’ll most certainly understand your approach. In fact, showing that you are human too, will help you forge a lasting bond with them.
You’ll need to demonstrate to your customers that you’re doing everything in your power to protect and serve them above seeking just profits – that you understand that this isn’t a time for business as usual – they will be far more empathetic towards imperfect executions and operational glitches.
Forging the further together as one
We all become more human when we’ve endured pain, and we all become more deeply connected when we’ve suffered together. These emotional realities also become valid when it comes to relationships between businesses and consumers. As we suffer together, we can also support each other through these times, this bond will only strengthen us over the long run. It can also create a new basis of how brands and consumers connect in the future.
Ultimately, COVID19 has and will continue to teach us about the true natures of interaction and collaboration. This will help lead us to a deeper appreciation of putting people first, giving brands the opportunity to show their true colors, and allowing companies, brands, workers, and consumers to become capable of adapting in a positive way to the changes that have been imposed upon all of us, as we emerge together as one, into a better place, and a more digitally connected future.