Maintaining a Positive Customer Experience in Times of Crisis
A Comprehensive Virtual Customer Experience Guide
Tips on Running Your Business Virtually
Stay calm: Give yourself permission to feel a little awkward with your first few interactions with customers and prospects. Know that everyone understands these are very challenging and unique times.Be positive: Maintain your tone, words and body language on the positive side. Introduce things about yourself, your family and fun things you are doing while at home.
Reassure: Let your customers know you are thinking of them and remaining available to the furthest extent possible.
Missing them: Let your customers know you are thinking of them and miss them.
Social Media is an inexpensive and easy way to connect with your customers (and prospects). With social distancing measures in place, many people are using social media to stay in-touch with friends and family, engage with local businesses, and find ways to keep up to date on the latest news.
Keep Customers Up to Date
Post regularly on your social media channels with engaging and useful content.
Try to post 3 – 4 times per week.
Monitor and respond to all private messages sent to your social media platforms. If possible, designate one person to be responsible for handling incoming messages.
Respond to ALL reviews – both positive and negative.
Review the people listed as an admin or editor on the Page Roles setting of your Facebook page and remove anyone who is no longer a staff member.
Unique Ways to Engage Your Community on Social Media
Whether you are an essential business still operating in some capacity or one that is completely shut down, you can still engage with customers and prospects in interesting and useful ways.
Host a virtual information session – Use Facebook Live to create a platform to talk to your followers about your subject matter expertise. It can be on an evergreen topic or it can be the way the global coronavirus pandemic has affected your industry. The key is to provide your unique take – being careful not to appear insensitive or opportunistic.
Celebrate first responders and essential workers – In a sincere way, put out messages of thanks to those in your community who are on the front lines.
Share resources – These could be local resources (if your customer base is central to one geographic area) or it could be resources for a specific group (if your customers are in one specific vertical).
Provide a guide – Create free industry resources for your customers and share in a PDF, spreadsheet, or Word doc.
Share posts from other businesses – What other businesses do your followers follow? You should be following them, too. If they have any interesting insights your followers shouldn’t miss, be sure to share.
Share stories about your customers – If you hear of any uplifting stories from your customers, regardless of whether or not they have anything to do with your business, share (with the customer’s permission).
Customer engagement must be intentional, scheduled, thorough and encompassing. It’s easier to engage with those who are willing, but the real win is engaging those who are disengaged. For customers who seem disengaged:
Reach out directly. Let them know what resources you have available for them in the interim.
Send good old-fashioned mail with a handwritten note and printed materials.
Continue to reach out periodically.
Recorded: Send a daily or weekly video message to your customers via email and/or social media. Message content will depend on your industry. You can also send daily or weekly video messages to your staff – especially those who are working remotely or are furloughed.
Live: Use live video for a variety of purposes – host virtual meetings with customers (or staff) to allow them to connect or provide a real-time updates. You can also deliver pitches and consultations via private video meeting.
Hardware & Software
Hardware: Virtual Tours can be conducted with a variety of devices. A smartphone, tablet or laptop / desktop computer with a front facing camera and a microphone will work
Screen Share Platform: This takes video conferencing, such as FaceTime, a step further by allowing the participants in call to share their screen with other viewer(s). There are numerous platforms available with both video conferencing and screen sharing capabilities. Some options include: Zoom, Google Hangouts and BlueJeans.
Be cognizant of which windows and programs are open on your computer before conducting a screen sharing session. You want to avoid exposing your customers or staff to any confidential information.
Attire: Wear clothing that represents the quality of your business
Eye Contact: The natural tendency is for people to look at their screens during a virtual meeting. Focus on the camera to simulate making eye contact as you would in a typical face to face meeting
Speaking: When using virtual platforms, there is usually a slight delay. Being cognizant of this will help minimize accidental interruptions
Log in: Log into the meeting 10 minutes prior to the set time. You want to be present right when your customers or staff members join the call instead of making them wait.
Noise: Limit unnecessary noises that could become a distraction during the virtual meeting. It may be wise to establish certain times during the day where external noises are fewer.
Physical Appearance: Branded items are good pieces to have in the background. The area should also be clean and free of clutter.
Distractions: As the person leading the virtual meeting, it’s easy to lose focus because of other people or things happening that your customer or staff member can’t always see on camera. Position yourself to be able to provide full attention and focus.
There is little that is more frustrating than constant buffering or screens becoming frozen in the midst of a conversation. It not only takes you out of your flow, but also causes the person on the other end to lose focus. To avoid this, be sure that the location you are using to conduct the virtual meeting has a reliable internet connection with enough bandwidth to support the video call.
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