The coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted small businesses all over the country. Many have either shut their doors or seen significantly less foot traffic as customers are self-quarantining and practicing social distancing. Approximately one-quarter of small business owners report issues with trying to manage sick employees at work, supply chain disruptions, and slower sales. This can create major frustration issues with customers as they struggle to find the things they need and get answers to any problems or concerns they have. Poor customer service costs businesses about $62 billion each year and if frustration levels get too high, owners run the risk of losing their customers forever.
It’s important for businesses to do everything they can to stay afloat during this difficult time and find innovative ways to improve their customer service until the outbreak subsides. You may be looking for ways to keep your customers engaged and happy during the lockdown and keep your business going like many of the merchants facing this crisis. The best way to improve your customer service experience during this difficult time is to get creative with how your business interacts with customers online. Here are digital ways to improve your customer service approach during the coronavirus pandemic.
Proactively Communicate With Your Customers
The pandemic situation is changing rapidly from day-to-day, and it can be hard to keep up with relevant news related to the coronavirus impact. Your customers understand how serious this crisis is and are willing to empathize with you if you communicate with them properly. Use social media channels, your website, and emails to notify customers of critical pandemic information related to your business. You can let them know about any measures you’re taking to protect your customers and employees by keeping your work environment clean and safe to prevent the spread of the virus. Share your cleaning protocols and let customers know if you’re forcing employees experiencing symptoms to go home from work and self-quarantine.
Provide your customers with ways to stay connected. Even though they’re self-isolating, your customers are still going to shop for things from their homes. Use your social media channels and email to direct customers to your online e-commerce store. Increase your amount of posting to ensure that customers will be able to see you in their news feeds.
Utilize Streaming or Video Chat Services
If you have a service business, you can utilize streaming or video chat services to improve your customer service. You can use free tools such as Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts to provide your services to customers and talk directly with them to address any problems or concerns.
Many small businesses such as gym owners, tutors, and counselors are using these tools to work with customers and keep them engaged.
If your business isn’t well suited for live videos, you can create a Vimeo channel where customers can pay for commonly requested information related to your services. For example, salon owners can share hair care and dyeing tips for customers who are stuck at home. Accountants can use this channel to teach customers how to begin a tax return. You may not be able to get the amount of cash you’d receive for the service you offer itself, but at least you’ll still be able to generate revenue and still service your customers.
Hold Online Events
Some small business merchants are seeing a significant loss of revenue due to being forced to cancel public events. However, your customers are craving entertainment options more than ever before because of the lockdown restrictions. You can use the live options on Facebook and Instagram to entertain your customers and hold events online such as product launches, work anniversary celebrations, or store openings. You can offer discount codes for your products and services for the first 100 people who stream your online event. It’s also a great way to give your customers behind the scenes looks at your products and maybe even how they’re made.
Spruce Up Your Online Shopping Process
Since many customers are staying at home, it’s a good idea to have an e-commerce store on your website if you don’t have one already. You’ll want to make sure that your e-commerce store is operating as efficiently as possible to give your customers the best service experience possible. Make sure your product pages are updated and include all the information a customer needs. Include photos or videos to help customers better understand your products.
Also, look for ways you can optimize the shopping cart process and improve the loading speed performance of your website. Improve your customer service experience by giving your customers access to instant help through live chats using chatbots. You also want to make sure that your website will work well on both desktop and mobile devices. Consider offering discounts and free shipping for online orders.
As the pandemic continues, it’s getting harder for many small business owners to keep their customers happy and engaged. This can lead to significant losses in revenue unless business owners learn to get creative. By utilizing online tech in your work, you can improve your customer service and even boost your bottom line. Use the tips above to improve the experience your visitors and customers have when they interact with your business. By getting creative digitally, you can give yourself a boost over your competitors and retain your customers long after the outbreak has passed.