Customer relationships are built over time, but customer trust can be lost in an instant with poor communication. While this is true in any situation, it’s especially true in the global climate created by COVID-19
When things are changing rapidly, good customer communication is critical. Marketers may be tempted to pause all marketing communication during a situation such as COVID-19, but the truth is that organizations should shift their communication to meet the needs of their customers at this time.
Whatever your customers’ needs may be, it’s important to remain committed to customer-focused communication. Here are a few ways that you may pivot your multichannel communication strategy to stay connected with your customers through these unprecedented times.
Respond to Customer Concerns Proactively
When a situation is changing rapidly, ensuring your customers are aware of your organization’s updates is one of the best ways to keep your customer experience afloat. Whether through emergency email communication, mobile messaging updates, or other communication channels, you should provide customers with up-to-date information as your business changes course.
By anticipating customer needs and communicating changes proactively, you can help avoid confusion, provide alternatives to day-to-day business offerings, and keep your customers safe. Here are a few ideas for how to do this:
- Send push notifications or in-app messaging to your mobile users to communicate changes to customer service availability, increased wait times, or provide online FAQs and support.
- Use email to promote alternatives to in-person shopping, such as online orders, takeout, or delivery.
- Pivot your mobile messaging to provide SMS updates about store hours, product availability, and safety precautions for in-store shopping.
Not only will proactive communication help your customers, it will enable them to find their own answers in many cases. This will free up your teams to focus on the customers who need more care, allowing them to work more efficiently.
Keep Subscribers Informed
For some industries, such as media and publishing, your goal isn’t to just keep people informed about your business; it’s to keep them informed about the world around them.
The changing global situation is top-of-mind for most audiences right now. How can you provide these consumers with a better experience? By adjusting your content strategy to conveniently connect them with the information that matters most to them in this moment.
Here’s how some brands across Upland CXM are doing just that:
- One publisher is segmenting app audiences by region and level of engagement to deliver content with a high level of consumer intrigue, regional relevance, and optimal frequency.
- A radio brand has launched a new email newsletter to provide current subscribers with content related to COVID-19. The newsletter sees average open rates of nearly double the industry standard, allowing the brand to engage their audience with the content they care about.
- A media brand has launched a mobile messaging campaign to keep their Spanish-speaking audience informed, connecting these audiences with valuable daily information on the channel of their choice.
Help People Help Others
It’s likely that many people in your audience are looking for ways to help others. Rather than stopping your marketing communication, make the use of your marketing channels to connect your customers with ways to give back.
- Coordinate with a nonprofit that aligns with your industry, then promote ways to donate to that nonprofit organization across your email, mobile, social, and app channels.
- Segment your audience to connect volunteers with local fundraising efforts or other ways to get involved.
- For nonprofits or advocacy groups, plan digital action campaigns that drive your email or mobile messaging audience to participate in online phone banks in place of in-person events.
By using your communication channels to do good, you can help provide better experiences for people who are in need at this time too.
Direct Audiences to New Content and Digital Events
If your brand revolves around live events or in-person experiences, you’ve likely found yourself going all-in on digital experiences. It’s important to communicate these changes to your audience, but it’s equally important to ensure that your messaging is appropriate for these times.
Stick to clear, concise messaging that gets your point across and conveniently provides customers with the information they need. After all, when everyone is going all-digital, it’s important to make sure your message is clearly received. Here are a few other tips for connecting with customers.
- Provide updates to in-person event cancellations or postponements on the channel of your audience’s choosing. Make sure your audience receives everything they need to know about event status, rescheduling, ways to receive refunds, and options for participating in the future.
- Create multi-channel campaigns to inform audiences of changes to your content or events.
- Segment your audience by interest to provide them with the most relevant digital information based on their previous engagement history.
Find Ways to Keep Things Positive
While there’s no shortage of negative news in times like these, sometimes it helps to connect customers with something positive. However, don’t take this as an open invitation to deliver irrelevant, marketing promotions to your customers under the guise of “good news.”
Instead, use your marketing channels to send thoughtful, helpful communications about product/solution changes:
- One Upland Mobile Messaging customer has used SMS and mobile wallet push notifications to notify customers that loyalty rewards expiration dates will be extended during this time.
- An Upland PostUp customer communicated to their email subscribers that children affected by school closures will receive free access to their educational resources.
- Some Upland Localytics customers are using push notifications and in-app messaging to deliver helpful self-care tips, promote free resources, and communicate more flexible payment options during this time.
Connect Employees Internally
To consistently provide outstanding customer experiences, your employees must stay informed too. However, with many employees working remotely for the first time, staying connected internally is more challenging than ever.
By using your marketing channels to communicate with your internal team, you can help ensure everyone is on the same page:
- One Upland CXM media customer is using mobile messaging to communicate changes to their internal staff. This allows them to provide instant updates to their remote staff members as they adapt to this changing situation together.
- For nonprofits with large volunteer networks, mobile messaging is also an effective channel to mobilize volunteers, allowing them to coordinate their digital advocacy efforts on a widely-available channel.
- Brands can also use Voice of Employee (VOE) solutions to gather actionable feedback from employees, ensuring an optimal employee experience, despite their changing situations.
When your team members are connected, they can provide your audiences with better experiences.
Outstanding Experiences in Unprecedented Times
A clear communication strategy can help you continue to deliver outstanding customer experiences, even when your customers are experiencing unprecedented circumstances. For more ways to strengthen your communication strategy, please view the blog posts, webinars, and other resources below.
- Press Release: Upland Software to Provide Free Webinar Series Designed to Help Businesses Navigate COVID-19
- Using Mobile Messaging to Connect in Times of Crisis
- Connected Through Change: Frontline Support with Mobile Communications
- Connected Through Change: Strengthening Audience Connections In Times Of Uncertainty
- Connected Through Change: Delivering Restaurant & Retail CX In Today’s World
- Email Strategy in Times of Crisis
- Upland Software’s Approach to COVID-19