If you’re a customer engagement specialist, these last few weeks may have found you staring at your screen wondering what you can possibly say to your customer base. How do you, as a brand, navigate through a crisis? Maintaining customer relationships has become more important now than ever.
Having a strong customer engagement strategy can help you continue getting your message out even in the middle of a crisis. Below are some reasons why having this strategy in place is so important and how you can get a strategy of your own established.
PREPARE: FOSTER GREATER CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS
Your customer engagement team exists for the purpose of fostering strong customer relationships. While it’s important to do in the good times, it matters more than ever in times of crisis. Customers want to know their brands care about them when the going gets tough.
Building engagement during a crisis can work if you have a product or service that specifically addresses an urgent need. Otherwise, attempts to build relationships during that time can be seen as trying to capitalize from those trying times. The best strategy is to enter a crisis with an already engaged customer base—which is always a good strategy regardless of current events.
So how do you build strong relationships? Plan out one or more customer journeys that fit your customers’ personas. Send personalized communications, triggered at key points during that journey. Track engagement levels of individual communications and monitor overall engagement levels. The only way to establish true, consistent engagement at scale is to automate it—consider leveraging a customer engagement platform.
With an engaged customer base, you then have the opportunity to go the extra mile in serving your customers during a time of crisis. Use your engagement platform to listen to what they need and go above and beyond in providing it. When the world returns to normal, they’ll remember what your brand did during the difficult times.
PROVIDE HELP WHERE IT’S NEEDED
Times of crisis also provide businesses with a unique opportunity to provide help to those who need it. Your company has an opportunity to make a positive difference by donating your products to those who need them. Not only is this the moral thing for a company to do, but it’s also a smart business move.
While you’re setting up these systems to help out, make sure you create workflows that will build trust and keep customers informed. Use engagement strategies to uncover and meet their needs. Customers will remember who helped them out during the crisis and will tell their friends to turn to your brand when they need recommendations.
USE YOUR PLATFORM FOR GOOD
Part of what your customer engagement strategy aims to do is build a large platform from which you can speak to your customers. This is critical for announcing routine developments like new product launches or promotions. But during a crisis, you have an opportunity to use your platform for good.
Use the digital customer engagement routes you’ve built to speak up for important causes during times of crisis. Spread the word about resources your customers can turn to for help, including non-profits and charities. Also, let them know about resources your company can provide and what you’re doing to help during this time.
In our modern world of 24/7 connectivity, customers expect to be able to rely on their favorite companies. If your company suddenly goes silent during a critical time, it may signal to your customers that something is wrong. If you want to build trust with your customers, you need to have a strong customer engagement strategy.
Sit down with your engagement team and figure out how you’ll keep in touch with customers during a crisis. Having those strategies in place will make it easier for you to focus on what message you want to send out, rather than how you’re going to get it out. And for your customers, hearing from you during these times will reassure them that you’re still out there doing the same work you always have to provide them with a stellar experience.
HUMANIZE YOUR BRAND
One of the best ways you can increase your customer engagement is to show the humanity behind your brand. Too often, we get caught up in the pressure of professionalism and distance ourselves from customers. This makes all marketing messages feel stiff and contrived and doesn’t engage customer attention.
Don’t be afraid to have fun with your social media interactions. Get sassy with negative commenters or competitor pages, but keep things lighthearted and fun. Hire engagement specialists who are tuned into the ever-changing culture of social media and can bring authenticity to your brand’s interactions.
CREATE USEFUL CONTENT
When you’re planning social media marketing content, it can be easy to focus on news about your company. Although if your page only tells customers about new products you’re releasing and special promotions, it won’t give them much incentive to follow you. Instead, try to create useful content for your customers.
Think about what kind of information would be useful to your customer base and post more of that. For instance, if you’re a clothing store, share information about the latest fashions, tips for putting together new outfits, and ideas on how to dress for different events. Providing this sort of content will give customers a reason to keep following your page.
One of the most important things you can do as a brand is listen to what your customers are saying. In most cases, they will tell you what they need and what they want to see. You just have to be willing to hear the message and take it seriously.
When someone posts a negative comment on your social media, reach out to them privately and ask how you can make it right. Also reach out to your loyal customers and ask what they would like to see from you. There are lots of amazing customer communication and customer experience tools that can help you achieve these goals.
CREATE A STRONG CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY
Our world is in the middle of an unprecedented time of crisis. During this time, it’s crucial that your company maintains a strong customer engagement strategy so your customer base knows they can continue to rely on you.
If you’d like to find tools to improve your customer engagement, check out the rest of our site at MHC. We provide a smart, modern solution for better customer experience. Contact us today and start establishing genuine, one-on-one relationships with your customers.