It's been two months since the shutdown and still most businesses are closed. Coronavirus has been destroying lives and businesses. As we are slowly approaching the reopening phase, nobody knows what waits for us in the future. Will the economy suddenly gain momentum or will there be a second wave or will it take years to recover? We don't have answers to these, but what we know is there is a lot of uncertainty circling us and our small businesses. When there is uncertainty, consumer confidence may drop and people might cut spending. But that does not mean you can wait until everything goes back to normal. As a business owner, you have to move on and one thing you need to do is to adapt! Although everything has been changing, one rule is still valid. To make a sale, there must be trust!
During the next few months, just focus on rebuilding trust. That said communication is everything. It may sound cliché, but it's not. Here are communication strategies for the next few months:
Before reopening – Prioritize customer safety
As we mentioned above, most businesses are getting ready to reopen. In this stage, make sure you are communicating your reopening strategy. What will be your new normal? How will you address customer concerns? Text your customers, share your strategies on your social channels, have a reopening statement on your website, update your Google Business hours. Talk to your employees and make sure they feel comfortable; if they are not, then your customers won't feel comfortable either.
Reopening – Build Trust
Don't rush. We know you have to but make sure you are doing everything right. Don't start with your full capacity, start slow, and then test the waters. Share photos from your workplace on social media, that way your customers can begin to understand what their experience will likely mimic. Ask for testimonials from your first few clients after you reopen. Keep staying ahead and continue informing your clients, send them updates regarding coronavirus. Because everyone knows this will not disappear soon.
After Reopening – Bring Loyalty Back
Now you are building trust and your business is getting close to reverting to its normal. It's time to share your story and connect with your customers to bring loyalty back. Show them how you have survived the coronavirus, thank your loyal customers.
Bonus – Online Ads
The world is more online than ever before which means increasing your online ads would be a good idea. But remember your focus is still building trust, so don't jump into aggressive advertising to sell your products/services.
Establishing trust with your customers or clients (both old and new) is crucial to succeed during this reopening phase. As we continue to adapt to this fluid pandemic, our former marketing and communication strategies need to be revised and revamped. As always, we will get through this together!
The Duquesne University SBDC provides free business consulting for entrepreneurs in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Click here to request free consulting, or contact the SBDC for additional help and information.
Tunca Cali is the Marketing and Training Coordinator of the Duquesne University Small Business Development Center (DUSBDC). He earned his MBA degree from Duquesne University. He has worked with several clients over the past years and helped them to develop marketing strategies as well as marketing and coordinating the training events offered by the DUSBDC.