As they say? “You can recognize a good sailor in bad weather” – when the sun is shining and the sea is calm and smooth as glass, such a ship or company steers itself relatively easily. But when towers of clouds are brewing on the horizon and the sea or the economic situation becomes rougher, then it becomes clear who is actually a good helmsman – whether on the water or in a company.
The coronavirus still has a firm grip on the world and the economy. Now companies have the opportunity to prove their seaman qualities and to show: “We are there for our customers even in times of storm.” With the following tips, you too can steer your company and your customers safely through the crisis.
Listen: How are your customers?
Rule number one: talking is silver, silence is gold – and listening is platinum. The feedback from your customers is always important, but especially in times of crisis.
Because there are presumably due to the external circumstances and uncertainties also with your customers special needs, maybe fears and doubts or even very practical problems. So keep an eye on all the channels your customers use to contact you at all times. This can be by phone, email or via social media. Attention and prompt reaction give your customers the feeling: “I am heard and seen, someone is there for me.” On a technical level, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system helps when interacting with customers .
Speak: What do your customers need to know?
Proactive communication with your customers is almost as important as active listening. If a crisis situation that your company is in affects your customers – such as changing opening times of your shop or delivery problems with an order – it is not your customers’ job to get information about it. Instead, you should take the initiative here and transparently explain what changes are taking place, where they are coming from and when things can be expected to normalize.
Inspire: What can you contribute in the current situation?
In times of crisis you can support your customers by positioning yourself as a helpful supporter. Is there information, tips or anything else that you can use to improve the current situation for your customers? Then don’t be afraid and share your knowledge – for example in the form of videos, infographics, a free white paper or a blog. Salesforce , for example, did the same . On their blog there are helpful tips for entrepreneurs and managers to get through the crisis well.
Be helpful: How can you help your customers?
New situations require new solutions. In other words, now is the time to think outside the box and find creative, new approaches. Need some inspiration?
During the quarantine period, Netflix developed and introduced a chat function so that users can chat with friends over a film or series evening despite physical distancing. Automobile manufacturers switched their productions to support the medical industry and suddenly started producing parts for respiratory masks and ventilators instead of car bodies. Restaurants that could no longer be visited organized their own delivery services so that people didn’t have to leave their homes and still enjoy freshly cooked food. Disinfectants were produced in cosmetics and perfume factories; the list is almost infinite. What can you contribute
Be nice: How can you meet your customers?
Experiencing a crisis means uncertainty – for every individual as well as for companies. Often times during these times you tend to look to yourself and your needs and goals first. Here it is important not to lose sight of the bigger picture and, especially in times of crisis, to ask yourself: “What do my customers need? And how can I support you in the current situation? ”You have already received a lot of inspiration, one last tip is: Be accommodating. For example, in the form of extended payment periods or additional payment methods, through or changed return periods or conditions, through reduced shipping costs or discount campaigns and goodies.
Like almost everything in life, crises have two sides. And even if the negative aspects predominate at first, the tips mentioned here can help you survive the crisis – and see it as an opportunity. Because maybe your actions in the crisis will even attract new customers to you?
In order to be able to support your customers in this way, it is not only goodwill that counts, but also the right technical infrastructure. A well-functioning CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system such as that offered by Salesforce helps you to consistently align the processes of your company to the relationship and needs of your customers.