A businessman by the name of Gautam Adani once said, “Business is all about risk taking and managing uncertainties and turbulence.”
During times of uncertainty, it is very easy for companies to panic and begin making drastic business changes. But not only will your customers pick up on your fear, making radial changes in the environment of uncertainty is like driving blindfolded and can actually make things worse. At this time, it is critical that companies make swift, smart but small pivots as the future unfolds.
Prior to making these decisions, ask yourself these two questions to bring as much “visibility” and direction to your pivots:
- Who is my target market?
- What do they need from me right now?
With regard to target market, it is not just your company’s target market. As a leader or executive, your “target market” might be your team or stakeholders for example. Your role as an executive may involve not only reassurance to your direct customers, but internally, helping or assisting your colleagues as they navigate the changes.
In response to the second question, what your target market needs from you may change from day to day or even within a few hours. In these times, there are often many internal and external factors that can influence the feelings, attitudes and confidence of your target market. Be ready to adjust at any moment and do not become glued to a model or plan.
Here are 6 ways to best support your customers during an external crisis, such as the coronavirus:
- Stay prepared and informed
Have a plan accompanied by multiple back-up plans. When the threat is outside of your control, there is no such thing as a constant. Alongside the ever-changing environment, it is critical for a business, and all of its employees, to stay properly informed. The last thing a company wants to do is misinform their customers or make a decision based on false information.
- Increase your social media presence
Social media, accompanied by digital communication outlets such as email and text messages, is the quickest and simplest mode of communication when you are needing to reach a large customer base in a short amount of time.
- Provide your customers with online/virtual resources
With many being forced to quarantine, your customers have been forced to deal with major life disruptions. Look to your company’s online resources and virtual experiences to serve them.
- Take advantage of under-utilized internal resources and disperse them into the community
If you let go of the fear of uncertainty, you will resist the temptation to be self-serving. Brainstorm with your teams. What resources do you have that are now idle and can be used to serve your community? Your customers and community will appreciate it and will always remember who was there for them.
- Take care of your employees
Protect the health, safety and needs of your employees. Your customers’ experience is many times a direct reflection of your team members experience. Additionally, now is NOT the time to upset an employee or customer – practice compassion and a collaborative culture. Your employees need to feel supported and heard just as much as your customers.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Stay transparent with your internal employees and notify your customers as soon as you have made a decision on a pivot or change. Being silent is not a proper response. Rather, over communication allows for a clear and open understanding. Remember – things are happening rapidly. Only change is certain.
To stay focused and tuned in, hold regular virtual meetings with both your employees and customers to gauge what they need and how well they are feeling supported.
There may be many questions from both parties but, be clear to stay focused on what you CAN do versus changing things that are out of your control. Do not overpromise and stay real. Your customers are looking to you for truth, a calm demeanor, and an appropriate operational response.
If you are interested in partnering with Promote On Purpose to enhance your marketing strategies during this time, contact us today.