It’s unlikely you’re going to provide your customers with every piece of information about your business or every change that your business makes. There are some things that are on a need to know basis. Informing customers with statements like “Woo! Profit on sales has gone up 25% thanks to higher prices and lower manufacturing costs” isn’t likely to go down well. Especially, if they work out there was no need for the higher prices. It’s important that we only update customers with the information that they need to know. So, what do they need to know?
Okay, we’re not talking about the lockdown working from home 3pm nap, we’re talking about your name, address and phone number. This one is fairly straight forward. All of your customers and potential customers will need to know your basic details. It’s important you’re clear about who you are. When listing your business online or in publications, always try and use your trading name so that people recognise who you are. If you change the name of your business, you may want to transition to using your new name so that your brand recognition transfers across.
Changing your business name outright will likely cause some confusion for your customers who only know you as your original name. Therefore, a gradual change can be beneficial. For example, Tom’s Toys could transition to Total Toy Shop previously known as Tom’s Toys and then in time, after customers are used to the change, simply Total Toy Shop.
Your address needs to be correct so that customer can find your location, especially if they are using Google maps which automatically pulls your address from your Google My Business page. Even if you don’t want customers at your location, providing the areas you cover let’s them know if your products and services are available to them. Your phone number needs to be correct so that customers contact the right business. During the lockdown, if you’re using a different telephone number for your business, it is important to update your Google profile and your website so customers can still get through to you. Rather than changing your entire site, a clear banner stipulating the emergency or temporary number should be present.
Change Of Operations
When your operations change, in a manner that will affect the customer, then you should inform them of the changes and the likely effects of said changes. During the lockdown, if you’re closing your business, providing reduced services or are only selling essential stock, then let your customers know. By keeping your customers and potential customers updated, you are likely to increase the trust they have in your business, retain repeat customers and attract poorly informed customers of competitors.
There are numerous ways you can inform people of your operational changes. Emailing your existing customer database allows you to drop into their inbox. Not only does it let them know of any changes within your organisation but it also acts as an opportunity for you to boost sales. Email marketing works when you have a database of people that you are able to contact so it may not be an option for you. However, there are things that work for everyone. Online, you can utilise Google posts to inform anyone searching for your business of any updates they need to know. You can also add a banner to your site for anyone who visits. This will help to prevent people from making unnecessary trips to your business or calling about unavailable products and services. Offline, a notice in your shop window should suffice in keeping people updated.
Awards & Bragging
The Coronavirus isn’t going to be the most talked-about topic forever. Life will return to normal and that’s when buying decisions are likely to return to a more predictable and familiar manner. When they do, you need to ensure that you’re providing your customers and potential customers with information about any awards you have won. Whether you’re marketing online or offline, it’s essential that you stand out from your competitors. The humble brag about why you’re the go-to supplier in your area or how your local community recognised your business during an awards ceremony will go a long way to convincing people that you’re a trustworthy and professional business. If two businesses offer identical services, with identical pitches, but one of them won an industry award, who are you more likely to go with?
Sometimes, you’ll need to inform customers of your future plans. It’s an opportunity to prepare them for what’s coming next. Build excitement by gradually releasing details about up and coming products and services. By creating a buzz, you may find that you experience a boom in sales during the initial release. It’s not just new products and services that customers are interested in. During the lockdown, it’s unlikely that you’re operating as you usually do. Inform customers and potential customers of what is likely to happen in certain scenarios. For example, if you’re expecting lockdown to be extended and it’s likely this will change your business operations, prepare your customers for what may come. That way, they don’t need to go searching for whether or not you are open.