One of the key principles of 2020 survival is adaptability. We all have needed to learn this skill in new and varying levels throughout the insanity that has played out in the first six months of the year. We’ve all likely had to do and try things that we never thought possible before. For example, walking into a bank with a mask and sunglasses on and having that be completely acceptable. That was a weird experience.
But that’s part of the new normal. We’ve all had to adapt to changing circumstances. We’ve had to rearrange expectations of what we thought we’d accomplish this year, both personally and professionally. And we’ve all had to learn how to stay safe every single day.
We’ve compiled a list of five business practices you need to adapt to stay safe in today’s changing digital environment.
Pivot Your Strategy
Even though restrictions are starting to ease in many locations, that doesn’t mean that things will immediately go back to the way they were before. Customers want to know that they can stay safe in your store or while interacting with your business. A couple extra steps to show you care right now can make a huge difference.
Things aren’t going back to the status quo we knew before. If you haven’t pivoted your business model and strategy yet, it’s time. You need to figure out a way to offer your products and services in an online manner, but also have the in person experiences you’ve had in the past. This could look like offering curbside pickup. This could be moving to both an e-commerce model as well as in person experiences. This is offering classes and demonstrations online and on-demand for those who still can’t venture out. And even if there’s a time when we can safely wander without a mask and gloves, people will still want these types of services.
The pandemic has forced us all to adapt new ways of getting what we need. But even though the initial phase of panic and adjustment has ended, we’re still going to keep many of these habits we’ve adopted. Think long term about your strategy and how to maintain any customers you’ve added during this time. Customers will go right now to the place that will take care of their needs, rather than the place they’ve been loyal to. Plan out your strategy now on how to keep earning new customers for the long haul. It comes down to being agile. Are you prepared for that?
Fast Track Your Digital Program
COVID-19 has fast tracked a digital revolution. For many people that had a minimal digital presence before have had to rapidly adjust. Those who didn’t have an online presence had to create one. Those who had more of a billboard presence have needed to enhance their site and make it more robust. People are spending more and more time online. Business needs to be ready for it.
To show how rapidly this has all changed, in December Zoom only had about 10 million subscribers. Today, over 200 million people use the platform. That same thing has happened around the globe and around the internet. You’ve heard that necessity is the mother of invention? Customers now shop and browse online more than ever. They need the kinds of services they wanted before, but now in a digital format. COVID has forced a digital revolution for millions to adjust to an online world that they’ve never considered before.
Remote work, remote learning, online offerings, digital pickup, and online promotions have all greatly accelerated because of the current pandemic. Events and conferences have moved online. Exercise classes have moved online. Even large companies may not ever have people come back to the office. This pandemic has forced all to adjust to more of a digital mindset. And if you haven’t made that switch, start now.
Do your customers trust your business? Ask yourself that question every single day. And if the answer is no, or if you’re not sure why you’re losing customers, it’s time to fix a few things.
Trust matters more than ever before. Many people worry about going out. They don’t want to take a risk for their health if your business can’t meet their needs. It’s even worse if they feel like they’ve been misled in a business interaction with you.
Building business trust means you take care of customer needs. You protect their data and information. But you also have their health in mind. You take the proper precautions to make sure everyone stays safe while in your store, or while you interact with customers. Building trust means even more in the age of COVID.
You can show your practices through social media, through updates on your website, and by confirming your efforts with every single customer touchpoint. Also, continue to build your online reputation with good reviews, case studies, and testimonials. This can help tremendously as customers search for places that can take care of their needs at this time.
Ease of Connection
Can people get in touch with you easily? That’s another question you need to ask yourself regularly. It seems that wherever you call during this pandemic, you’re greeted with a message that says “we’re dealing with higher than normal call volumes. Thank you for your patience.” Everyone is dealing with more influx of calls, emails, and connectivity from customers. It goes back to building trust. Customers want to know you can meet their needs before taking the risk to come in. Do you have easy ways they can contact your business? Is your phone number easy to find? Do you regularly monitor your contact email? Do you have a chat feature on your website?
Take an audit of all those channels. Monitor how you keep in contact with your customers. Is there something you can do better with all your communications? Can you be more clear of expectations to your customers through your website and/or email communications? Make sure you take care of all these channels and create the needed time to accurately monitor them.
Digital is crucial during this time. Customers want to learn all they can online before committing to an actual interaction. And your business needs to pivot and be agile at this time in order to capture all these customers. But practicing these safe digital habits in the age of COVID-19 can help your business thrive.