Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 in 3 businesses say that maintaining customer engagement has been their biggest challenge while adapting to new ways of working, according to telecommunications provider Esendex. Businesses are needing to tailor how they communicate in order to continue to deliver their high levels of service to align with the changing lifestyles of their customers.
Retail expert Andrew Busby believes, “Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, customer engagement and retention were challenging enough; now, however, capturing it is a truly elusive task. Not only have retailers got to try to overcome months where their customers were repeatedly told that it is dangerous to visit enclosed spaces; with the majority of household incomes significantly suppressed, our propensity to spend is no longer at the level it was prior to the outbreak of the virus.
“Reputation will be a key part of getting customers through the door: retailers will have to convince their clientele that they’ve got a safe and responsible offering and can be trusted. This vital, because retail contributes nearly £400 billion a year to the UK economy.”
We take a look at what you can consider to better engage with your existing and potential customers over this period.
Staying connected with your customers during COVID-19
Promote your digital services
It’s likely that you’ve had to make some changes to your business over lockdown and these might still be in place now. Make sure to advertise your digital service to your customers, whether that’s an enhanced online help feature, a new delivery service, changes to your support lines or something else. It’s often not enough to just post about this once and move on, the key to effective communication is consistent messaging – without bombarding your customers with too much information.
Keep it relevant and roll with the punches
If you’ve made an engagement plan for the year, it’s likely that most of the planned content will no longer be relevant. While it may be tempting to stick to the plan in order to not waste content, or if you don’t want to sound like a broken record, remember that the pandemic is still at the forefront of most people’s mind and not acknowledging it does have the potential to look short-sighted; although by all means, this isn’t always the case. Be careful to review the content you’re putting out there to ensure it aligns with the current guidelines and public perspective.
Be active on social media
No matter which channels you choose to focus on as part of your marketing strategy, it’s now more essential than ever to ensure that these aren’t neglected and you’re using them to keep your customers in the loop. While you’re likely busy, it’s worth making the time to ensure that your customers are aware of the changes you’ve made as a business as a result of the government changes as well as demonstrating what you are doing to keep both your staff and your customers safe.
Do you run a public-facing store?
Ensure that people know what you expect of them before they enter your premises and what they can expect from you. Participating in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme? Let people know!
Strike when the time’s right
Think about your target market and their lifestyle. When will they most likely be browsing through their phones? Is there a period in which they’re likely to be more receptive? If you run a food premises, consider engaging with your customers before mealtimes in order to put your business in their line of site. It might be worth checking the analytics of your own social media posts to see the type of content that garners the most engagement and when people tend to comment on/like your content.
Of course, engagement is amongst one of many problems that businesses are having over these uncertain times and we understand that with the threat of targeted lockdowns imminently looming, these can be stressful times for you both personally and financially. For a discussion about your insurance and the protection it currently offers your business, as well as any changes you can make to better protect yourself in the future, please contact Stephen today on 01782 461563.