The COVID-19 crisis brought the entire world to a standstill. Governments have been pushed to take health, safety, social and economic regulations. Social distancing, which has been going on for quite a while now, is one of them. We are now obliged to keep a distance from each other and do not go where we used to go. This impacts people's lives and the way we are in contact.The COVID-19 crisis brought the entire world to a standstill. Governments have been pushed to take health, safety, social and economic regulations. Social distancing, which has been going on for quite a while now, is one of them. We are now obliged to keep a distance from each other and do not go where we used to go. This impacts people's lives and the way we are in contact.
Turbulent times for organisations
Building and maintaining strong customer relations has always been key to ensure stable customer experiences and long-term profitable business. However, staying in touch with customers has become more difficult. The way 'real-life' contact takes place, for example, has changed entirely. Besides that, for most businesses, (social) interaction is key, these changes have its side effects. These can have impact on a large scale, causing serious uncertainty for organisations. This reflects on a global scale in for example, economic deficits that easily range from 5% to 10%. So, trying to remain in close touch to your customers is of crucial importance. But how should you stay connected to your customers and maintain your business relationship in 'the social distance era'?
Manoeuvre to stay connected to your customers
In current and forthcoming times, literately and figuratively speaking, staying 'connected' with both B2B and B2C customers even becomes more challenging. Here are four organisational measures and ideas how to go about doing this.
1. Always 'be there' for your customers
This may look like stating the obvious. However, customers may face additional problems in times of change or have the need to receive extra support. Or simply, have more time to get in touch with providers. In all cases, you want to position yourself as a 'trusted partner'. This implies to ramping up your customer service to make it on point. Make use of this opportunity to make customer service for example more personal.
2. Choose the right medium and use it with a purpose
In being in touch with your customers, it is worthwhile to consider how you do this and what channels you choose. Using smart around the clock self-service is an efficient way to solve standard questions. This may be especially more relevant now where customers have more questions. Intelligent virtual assistants might be the answer to this. For more complex problems you might need dedicated frontline service agents that help your customers out. In this, stimulate your employees to adopt an empathetic approach and encourage creativity to help customers out. Also, breaking the ordinary by 'going old-school', by for example sending a physical postcard or present, may positively surprise your customers. Make a gesture or send a personalised message. Social distancing does not prevent you to build and maintain personal customer relations, so be creative!
3. Share how you can be of value
Across sectors and in B2B as well as B2C, your customers may face different/unique challenges. This might imply that the usual offering is not fitting and may therefore not directly fulfil customer needs. Therefore, think along with your customers and show how you can help in overcoming challenges. Share your ideas about how you can facilitate your customers and be of value.
4. Thought leadership creates credibility and new opportunities
Especially in troubled times, people look for certainty. As you are the expert in your field, you know how to play your game. By developing and positioning yourself as a though leader, customers automatically tend to reach out to you. Doing this over time with a proven track record, you will gain credibility throughout the eco-system. This gives you the chance to work on your existing customer base while at the same time may service you with new connections and business opportunities.
We understand that dealing with social distance is challenging. We are always here to think along with you, exchange ideas, or ramp up your strategy to stay connected to your customers. So please do not hesitate to reach out!