The recent economic downfall due to COVID-19 Pandemic has involuntarily forced SMBs to transform the way they work from the office and live rapidly. In fact, many elements in several companies like customer service, sales, and supply chain management have been challenged in recent times.
Nevertheless, small and medium businesses are doing their best to manage through this global Pandemic by drafting an effective crisis response strategy using new business development ideas that can manage supply-chain interruptions and retain communication with the employees and customers to ensure their wellbeing.
Now with these new models of business, it is no doubt that customer experience or CX will take on a new meaning in the light of Coronavirus malady.
For example, the requirements of the customers have in recent times changed dramatically from convenient, seamless, and engaging communication to the most empathizing one.
In a report published in the Gallup Business Journal, consumers nowadays are 9X more likely to get them engaged with any brand or business if they receive empathetic customer support- which illustrates how vital ‘empathy’ is nowadays.
Hence leading organizations across the globe that have recently realized the current needs of today’s consumers are reorienting their CX efforts and business development ideas to meet those needs, which dwells in these three words- security, safety, and empathy.
Therefore by emotionally interfacing with the customers during this crisis, SMBs can build a solid foundation of generosity that can result in forming an enduring relationship with the customers.
So here are six such crisis management strategies that have been adopted by certain business communities and brands at this time:
1. Plan Well and Stay Calm
This Pandemic like many others that happened before is all about distress. Nevertheless, exhibiting the emotion to your consumers will not help your SMBs in any way. Rather, plan and show your customers your readiness to face this Pandemic or any other crisis that may emerge even in the future days to come.
In other words, when you reach out to your customers, ensure that you have sound knowledge and confidence since your customers will always want to know if your business is all set to handle the situation, and whether your business is available to help them during this trying times.
In fact, it is only by planning, you can save your brand now from making insensitive and hasty decisions that can put a pause on your business growth, even though as a small business organization you must always prioritize supporting your customers with a limited budget while planning your crisis management strategies.
Additionally, remember as customer practices are undeniably changing nowadays like never before, ensure customers can connect with your small business amidst this crisis 24/7 and your business is willing to help them round the clock as they are at home and therefore their buying behaviors have switching online for which SMB organizations need to adapt to this change.
2. Support Your Customers Emotionally
Nowadays customers are forced to work from their homes due to this COVID-19 Pandemic, and so SMBs too must have to ensure that they can make their customer’s life more enjoyable at their homes with their products and services.
For example, Comcast has recently offered free access to its Xfinity WiFi hot spots for all people (which includes even non-subscribers) for 60 days so that their families can entertain themselves by viewing videos and online courses at home or New York’s Metropolitan Opera released digital shows to engage the virtual crowds for free.
Your business can also offer mindfulness and contemplation by offering applications like Headspace which is currently opening free membership to healthcare experts and providing free content for its customers.
Hence as an SMB owner, you can utilize these business development ideas or brainstorm for more new concepts to help relieve the stress of your consumers amidst this global crisis.
3. Assist Community in Financial Distress
In this hour of crisis, organizations all across the globe are compelled to lessen the work of their employees for a questionable period of time which uncovers SMB owners to an enormous risk of liquidity issues.
Hence in such scenarios offering high-quality solutions while dealing with financial distress can be a big challenge for small firms.
Nevertheless, instead of penalizing the customers for not meeting their payment obligations, businesses need to be flexible with them nowadays.
In fact, there are several automakers, telecommunication companies, and utility firms that are waiving their fees and easing shutoffs to aid communities struggling during this Pandemic.
For example, AT&T has halted the termination of home telephone, and broadband assistance when customers cannot take care of their payments as a result of this Pandemic or Burger King is providing two free meals to Americans purchasing through their Burger King app. and thereby helping the families who formerly relied on school lunches to feed their kids.
4. Treat Customers with Utmost Care
Treating your customers with care has become the need of the hour. With physical channels like retail brick and mortar stores being closed, SMBs must adopt online strategies to resolve customer issues and other requests that otherwise would have needed personal attention.
There are several service-oriented companies that have already established a customer-resource center focused to assist customers with claims related to this Pandemic.
Now be as it may, such firms, once they are small in size are presently encountering increased volumes of calls in their contact centers whereby dealing with these call rates has resulted in complexity for small businesses, especially while most customer-service operations have shifted to remote-working arrangements.
Nevertheless, with a specific well-though crisis management plan, and by using advanced business tools like easy to use CRM software platforms, there are many SMBs that are rightly utilizing these issues to increase their conversion and revenue.
For example, Cisco’s Webex is presently helping colleges and schools by remotely offering free apparatuses for students, educators, and guardians, and in this way aiding the internet learning platform or LinkedIn through its workers’ referral is providing free access to its top-notch highlights for a limited period of time.
5. Reduce Physical Interaction as Much as Possible
Now while supporting the community with their services, it is also the responsibility of SMBs to eliminate the spread of the virus.
Therefore for small businesses here are certain business development ideas that can minimize contagion risk by following specific precautionary measures, especially if their sales process involves physical interactions.
For example, there are many organizations that are providing free home delivery for customers over 65 years old or limiting the number of people to enter the store at once.
There are also several food-conveyance firms that are offering new contactless delivery choices to wipe-out physical contact among customers and their conveyance operators, guaranteeing the well-being and security for both the customers and their representatives.
6. Contribute to Safer Innovations
As an owner of a small and medium business it is the right time to ask yourself these two basic questions:
Do you have an offering that is safer for the consumers to use right now?
Is it possible to innovate your offering(s) new tools that are required for the community?
Now with a sufficient budget, SMBs can pursue this approach for a limited period of time and use their strength to contribute to society by supplying goods that are outside their current product portfolio.
For example, there are several distilleries across the globe that are partnering with refineries to provide hand sanitizers or appeal manufacturers are shifting to stitching thousands of face masks that are crucially needed at this moment.
Similarly, automotive industries are also manufacturing respiratory care products and ventilators or rideshare firms are transporting essential goods and medicines rather than passengers.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
Hence to conclude we as one of the most popular vendors of Salesforce Alternative CRM software solutions can easily say that this COVID-19 outbreak is one such global crisis that has specifically created golden opportunities for SMB owners to support their customers in myriad ways while promoting their brands at the same instance, since practicing an empathetic and caring approach towards marketing during these difficult hours are more likely to create real connections with the consumers that can last a lifetime.
Hence, we request SMBs to consider the tips mentioned above to serve the community in and around them and thereby stay ahead of the competition amidst this Pandemic.