31 Mar Social distancing VS social disruption: How can businesses build the cord of trust?
Extreme circumstances are calling for desperate measures. And the COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be just that.
With the rapid rise in the number of cases globally, authorities are urging precautionary measures such as frequently washing hands and refraining from touching the face. But more importantly, they are recommending the limiting of physical interaction.
As lockdowns come into effect all over the world, the aim now is to reduce the risk of infection. Governments are hoping that widespread and comprehensive social distancing will help. Schools, shopping centers, cinemas, restaurants, and all places of social gatherings have been closed.
This may sound drastic, but since there is no known cure for the disease, containment is the only strategy. Along with the alteration and breakdown of social life in communities, social disruption is settling all too comfortably. Societies are falling away from their norms, and something entirely new is emerging.
Understandably, people are finding it hard to accept these radical changes, especially because we as humans crave social interaction. But amid this unprecedented time, surprisingly, businesses can help mitigate the confusion that exists.
Coronavirus can be a good time for your business
COVID-19 is taking a bite out of everything, so how can this be true? NFIB Research Center claims that businesses have reported slower sales (42%), supply chain disruptions (39%), and sick employees (4%). Shops are closing, and many more are working from home. Unfortunately, some people have even lost their jobs. That means that consumers are budgeting their expenses and spending only on essentials.
It’s expected that the situation will continue to get worse before it gets better. Both online and offline businesses are anxious as they nervously watch the unpredictable market. The sudden surge in panic buying can only continue till stocks last. So for most brands, the options are limited.
What happens next?
Yes, we all knew that brands need to maintain an online presence. But now, more than ever, businesses either shift online or risk going out of business. But the hidden message that enterprises need to comprehend is that this is not the time to be pushing sales. In fact, this is an opportunity to engage with the online community and build consumer trust in your brand.
Ways to build trust during the COVID-19 outbreak
Looking for ways to keep your audience engaged and in the loop? Well, you need not search any further. Here are some tips for heading you off in the right direction:
1. Keep social media profiles alive
While we are being pushed into social isolation, brands have the power to bring a sense of community back to its members.
At the moment, social media platforms are the number one choice. Therefore brands need to stay active and provide engaging content, especially to promote positivity and take people’s minds off the panic.
Even if individuals cannot meet face to face, remaining in constant contact in the virtual space is the next best alternative. So maintaining connections with the audience is an ideal way to build trust with your customers.
2. Clear any misconceptions and resolve their queries
Now more than ever, people depend on online communication to stay on top of everything. While email is a good option, a considerable amount of people are choosing to interact through various social media platforms.
With all the corona hype in the media, people are going into panic mode. Since these are not normal circumstances, it may not be the best time for promotional offers. Instead, work at bringing a sense of calm to your customers. Keep in touch with them and answer any queries that they may have.
3. Keep customers updated
If your operational hours are changing or you’re closing the brick-and-mortar store for a deep-clean, let your customers know. Moreover, inform them about any temporary disruptions in the supply chains.
Create awareness about typical aspects of the business, such as deliveries, available customer support, safety guidelines, etc. But also inform customers about shortages of products, if any, alternative in-stock products, and reasonable estimates as to when the items will be restocked.
Even at times of a crisis, customers value honesty and transparency. Not only does this build trust, but it also fosters acceptance of the current situation where things are pretty much out of everyone’s control.
4. Provide assurance
Customers want their concerns heard and understood. Brands need to interact with their consumers- period.
Increase your customer service capabilities and offer multiple channels of outreach, including phone, social media, email, etc. This sends a strong message to all the consumers- your brand is one that they can rely on. It will be there for them – for better or for worse. Just make sure that you respond to them as quickly as possible.
5. Remain in the now
Every business knows that it’s always about the customer. You’ve been there for them before. But more specifically, what are you doing now at their time of need?
Let customers know what you’re doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For example, are you offering free masks or free deliveries?
But let’s take it a step further. Many brands are offering additional content such as blogs and posts that are relevant to the current situation. This is providing extra value to the general audience and putting them at ease.
Not only should you consider presenting guidelines for your customers, but as a concerned member of the society, share what you are doing for your employees, like increased cleaning, disinfecting, and hygiene protocols that you are enforcing.
It’s time to up your content marketing game
Social distancing and social disruption are challenging business models around the world. However, this is your chance to reach out to your customers and boost lead generation. So no matter what measures the government enforces, with the proper content marketing strategies in place, you can communicate and engage with your customers through the virtual landscape.
Customers are seeking out content that informs, educates, inspires, and entertains. Brands now have the opportunity to increase brand awareness and engagement, primarily through social media platforms. Revamping the current content marketing strategies to leverage the brand is imperative. Social media scheduler can help manage content creation, boost communications, and increase value to customers during the coronavirus outbreak. In fact, a scheduling tool can help you post the right piece of content at the right time.
Businesses will need to be smarter to tackle the challenges that lie ahead. While many are keeping a close watch on their budgets, this is no time to pinch the marketing department. If anything, it’s essential to focus on maintaining online visibility.
But in order to keep the business profitable as well as continue to build trust with customers, strategies must focus on:
- Retaining the existing customer base
- Boosting visibility for the target audience
- Measuring current metrics
- Driving conversions
People have been advised to self-quarantine to minimize the chances of the virus from spreading. But this does not mean that businesses should take the sidelines. In fact, the corona outbreak can help brands nurture customer trust. Utilize this opportunity to stay connected with consumers and continue providing exceptional service.
There are various ways that businesses can adapt to the current situation. The digital world is making things easier. Brands can continue to engage with customers during COVID-19, from ramping up social media presence to offering better support. Remember, you are not alone. The pandemic has touched everyone. Staying safe and healthy today leaves the door of opportunity wide open for tomorrow.