For many businesses, the pace of change in recent weeks has been unprecedented, impacting all areas of operation. A lot have been forced to temporarily close their physical doors, but many have found new ways of adapting their offering.
Customers too have been forced to get used to new ways of accessing products and services. There has been unprecedented demand for fresh food and essentials delivery services, a rapid shift to digital solutions and as we enter a new phase, many businesses are now adopting an appointment only business model.
The way we connect, network and do business has changed too. Who amongst us has not been invited to join at least one Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype or Google Hangouts call in the past few months.
This rapidly evolving and unparalleled global situation has highlighted a number of key themes – the need for businesses to be responsive and agile, the importance of digital and contactless technologies, an emphasis on safety and wellbeing and a greater demand for personal and end to end services. In the short term at least, people are keen to reduce their number of ‘touch points’ and businesses must look at ways they can go the extra mile to offer personalised and complete end-to-end solutions.
As lockdown restrictions are slowly eased, robust planning and appropriate communication and messaging will be vital for businesses during the transition period. The key is for businesses to remain flexible and adapt their offering and procedures as the situation evolves. They need to be vocal about their approach too, so that both customers and staff are aware and reassured.
Further changes will be needed as lockdown restrictions are relaxed in the coming months and we get used to a new way of working. Now more than ever it is vital that businesses regularly communicate with their staff, customers and the wider public.
However, it’s important to remember that everyone’s lockdown experience will have been different. Some may have struggled to adjust and this could have been compounded by financial and health worries, separation from loved ones, trauma or the stress of trying to juggle multiple commitments. Many may also be nervous about what the next phase will bring, from either an economic or health perspective and suppliers and customers may be on a different recovery trajectory.
We must understand that this has been, and continues to be, an emotional time for many. As we start to get ‘back to business’, companies should take a moment to evaluate their existing comms plans and ask themselves if their messaging continues to ‘feel appropriate’. Understanding and reassurance should be central to any comms strategy as we all learn how to adapt to a new normal. It is important that communications are clear, considerate and personal across all channels
With screen time higher than ever, social media and other digital comms will naturally play a central role for many, but businesses shouldn’t underestimate the power of a personalised greetings card or postcard to support their wider CRM recruitment, retention and recovery strategy.
In this digital age, printed cards can be a great way to stand out from the competition, reinforce brand awareness and engage in a more personal way. Businesses can use them to thank their loyal customers and staff for their continued support during this difficult time, launch new products or services, communicate modified ways of working, or simply say ‘we’re back’.
However you choose to communicate, the most important thing for your businesses is that you are doing just that. The future may be uncertain, but many companies will be judged on how they behaved, both during lockdown and beyond.