COVID-19: How to Effectively Communicate with Clients with Empathy

Most corporates are busy blasting emails to customers about the latest updates on the coronavirus front, or how to wash their hands, or how to wear masks. The customer’s email boxes are overflowing with such advice.

This is a phase when one needs to be more sensitive and show empathy not only towards the client but also towards others such as retailers, suppliers, investors, etc. When your email is full of every company telling you what to do, this leaves a bad taste about such brands.

All of these people are going through tough times, and they will appreciate it if you get off the business horse and are more sympathetic to their plight.

Here are a few tips to communicate effectively during this crisis.

Your treatment towards the staff

At this stage, it is very important to be sensitive to your staff too. If you are going to sack people left, right and centre, you will be in the news for all the wrong reasons. And your customers will remember how you have behaved.

When sending out emailers to your customers, you can probably talk about how you are ensuring that your staff and their families are safe. The best time to send out this information is during order confirmation.

This will reduce any remorse the customer has for spending the money, and also make them happy that their hard-earned money is being well utilised. ‘Thank you for supporting us, so that we can support our staff’ is the message you need to put across.

Regular communication with customers

If you are planning to ask clients to wash their hands and wear masks, forget about it. They already know this. If you have something additional and useful to tell them which others are not already telling them, then that makes more sense.

Look at what customers are sending you as queries and feedback. That is what they want to know. Design your communication around that. If there is other important information like shipping delays, or products are out of stock, inform them. This is more relevant.

Update them about your retail shops

Most brands have closed their retail outlets to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. Some of them did this even before the lockdown. That is showing solidarity with the customer. But what most corporates have not done is update their websites about these store closures and additional information about the product availability.

You need to continue communicating on your website about this information. Refresh your search listings to inform the customer about store closures, and you can also tell them how you are sprucing up your e-commerce site at present to serve them better. Add any relevant details which will help them.

Talk about how you are helping the community

A simple email about how you are helping the community will suffice if you are making such efforts. You can even send out quotes from those you have helped since they will be grateful to you, but don’t go overboard in promoting yourself. Keep is subtle.

What not to do

Do not take advantage of the fact that there is a lockdown and don’t teach the customer how to enjoy the lockdown. This is not a time to celebrate, and many customers are going through a bad patch either financially, or someone at home might be sick.

So your communication could be misinterpreted and rub your clients in the wrong way. Don’t use coupon codes like ‘COVID-19’ or ‘coronavirus.’ That is insensitive.

Continue sending regular emails but be sensitive

Don’t stop your regular emails to clients regarding your company’s plans or initiatives. People still want to be updated about your future plans. However, try to position or reword your information in a way that is more appropriate for the circumstances.

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