With the US now several weeks into lockdown, many people are adjusting to life working from home. For businesses in a variety of sectors, this has presented many challenges – including how to operate remotely, keep in contact with clients and crucially, keep making money.
During times of uncertainty, it can be all too tempting to deviate away from your business model, but now more than ever it’s important that brands are staying true to their voice. We wanted to share some ways that businesses can continue to portray a tone of voice clients and customers are used to – helping them feel as comfortable and secure as possible during a time of unease.
There’s no denying that you’ll have to have implemented some form of flexibility into the way you and your team are working right now. While for some businesses the opportunity to work remotely is part and parcel of the job, for others, their role simply hasn’t allowed for this until now.
Whether you realize it or not the systems and procedures on which you’ve built your business play a huge role in how your brand is perceived. If you’re known for being organized, informative, and in regular contact with your clients, now is really not the time to let those things slide. So, if you can keep internal systems ticking along and ensure things are operating as close to normal as possible, this will all aid your efforts to stay true to your business model and your brand’s voice.
Fortunately for us, we live in an age where so much of what we do occurs online – so from cloud-based data allowing you to access and review performance to instant messaging and video platforms, many businesses have the ability to operate from anywhere in the world. By sticking to your meeting schedules and adhering to internal systems and procedures, you’ll ensure your business’s voice remains visible – from the inside out.
If there’s one thing clients value pretty much above all else, it’s transparency. They like to know what’s going on. That’s only fair, right? However, one of the challenges you’ll be facing right now is not really knowing yourself day-to-day what’s happening in your business. With the tide changing on an almost daily basis, it can be difficult to stay on top of what’s deemed to be a guideline and what, in fact, is now law.
Try to keep in mind that most people are in a similar predicament. Regardless of the sector they operate in, everyone is being impacted in some way by the global pandemic – so you can hopefully expect a bit of compassion and understanding from your clients. If they’re asking questions that you don’t feel comfortable or ready to answer, then, by all means, say so.
The product or service you offer really doesn’t matter, the one common factor all businesses have is that those who buy from them just expect to be treated respectfully. So, if you’re unable to update customers on expected delivery times right now or you don’t have a clear idea of when your stores will be reopening, be sure to tell them just that. And follow up by telling them that as soon as you know, they’ll know. This way, you’ll be able to nurture the relationship that your client base is so used to.
In line with the point discussed above, regardless of how much you know right now, you should be making an effort to stay in regular contact with customers. The last thing they need during this period of uncertainty is to feel as though they no longer matter to you or your business. This is especially crucial for B2B clients, who are in turn worrying about their clients.
While previously you might have operated a strict email and business phone approach for contacting clients, this is the one area where you might need to be a bit more flexible. Even with the office phone redirected, it’s not unlikely that employees will need to get in touch with their clients or customers when working from home.
Whether you allow personal phone use or recommend video chats via platforms like Google Hangouts and Zoom, you should be encouraging your team to be willing to try new ways to stay in touch with clients. Don’t underestimate the power of a video call when trying to deal with a serious issue – as this will allow both parties to see facial expressions and responses as they chat, which is something you just can’t gauge from emails.
With some businesses reporting a huge increase in daily likes, if there’s one thing you can be sure of during this pandemic, it’s that people are online. Of course, pre-coronavirus, we already spent a significant amount of time browsing the internet, tweeting, posting, and sharing content – but long-established platforms like Zoom have seen their active user base grow by 67% between January and March of this year alone.
So, to follow the age-old rule of business, if social media is where your customers are, that’s where you need to be – and you need to be sure you’re providing them with exactly what they want. With stock availability, delivery times and so much more changing on a daily basis, your social media platforms provide the perfect space to keep your audience clued up. You can update masses of people with a single post, and this kind of reach holds huge power at a time like this.
As well as business-focused content, don’t be afraid to share a little about how yourself and your team are getting on with the changes to business – as long as you stay on brand. There’s never been a better time than now to break down the barriers between businesses and consumers. So, if you’re comfortable enough to do so, shed a little light on how everyone is getting on with some true-to-life content of staff working remotely, team quizzes, and any potential challenges that come with managing a team remotely.
In these unprecedented times, staying true to your business – and in turn, your clients and customers – is crucial. By following these tips and encouraging team members of all levels to do the same, you can continue to represent your business in a way that everyone is used to and ensure that those who helped you along the way feel as supported as possible.
This is a guest post from Tori Atkinson, the lead content creator for Paragraft, providing bespoke content writing services for ambitious brands looking to find and nurture their brand voice.