Monday, March 9, 2020

Examples of Proactive COVID-19 Communications That Enhance Customer Experience

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of proactive customer communications during the unsettling period of rapid change caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and COVID-19 disease. Brands are already acting to intercept potential brand problems and offer support to uncertain and concerned customers.

This health event will continue to evolve for months to come, creating unprecedented disruptions to business operations and significantly altering the needs, wants, and expectations of customers. Being proactive now is an opportunity to create a win-win, allowing your brand to simultaneously solve brand and customer problems.

Among the difficulties your organization may face are a host of customer concerns that can deter them from conducting business with your company, such as:
  • Customer anxiety about visiting your location or purchasing your product. Is your product safe? What steps are you taking to ensure customer health in your physical site?
  • Customer worries about your ability to deliver on promises: If I purchase from you versus a competitor, can you deliver on time? Will your inventory or logistics issues cause delays or frustrations?
  • Customer hesitancy about making commitments: If I purchase advance travel, can I cancel if my situation changes or I am prevented from going? If I buy a ticket to your event, what happens if I'm unable to attend or the event is canceled? What are your timeframes or conditions for refunds?
If customers wonder about these questions, then they are becoming obstacles to your business maintaining its revenue in a difficult period. Furthermore, questions like these can raise your call volume, increase expenses, and further strain your staff as people seek answers.

Proactive action and communications during this epidemic can do more than minimize customer objections. They also represent a chance for your brand to demonstrate its customer centricity, earn trust, and build relationships. Brands that act quickly can differentiate themselves with decisions and information that decrease customer anxiety and solve customer problems before they develop.

If you are not yet communicating to customers on issues around the COVID-19 outbreak, you're already behind organizations that have taken the lead to bring clarity and comfort in a time of growing fear and worry. I will share some examples, but if you have any worthy instances of brand communications you have seen (or launched), please share them in the comments or on Twitter.

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