Touching customers is something we can’t do right now. We can’t get close to them, look them in their eye, and shake their hand. Customers can’t shake your hand or touch your wares (if you have them).

This is a popular topic. A local TV news broadcast is even showing a story about communicating with customers as I write this. (Really.)

Three Strategies to Consider

I listened to a free webinar produced by StoryBrand and led by its founder and president, Donald Miller. The webinar talked about how to communicate in the age of COVID-19.

The one-hour webinar had a lot of good information distilled into three points:

  • Overcommunicate. That is, communicate to customers and employees at least once a week.
  • Use empathy and authority to let your team and customers know that you have a plan.
  • Craft three different plans for your business:
    • Cash flow so you know how much money you need to make each day.
    • How you will re-package your products and services.
    • Change your messaging to reflect the pain points customers have.

In sum, you need to make your business recession-proof by doing these things now. There’s always a balancing act with messaging now, so don’t forget to test your messages often to find the one that takes root.

Touching customers means you need to plant seeds

Potential Ways to Pivot

What stood out to me during the webinar was the fact that customers’ problems have changed. That got me to thinking about how to get customers in touch with the fruit of our labor. (Hey, that’s the meaning of the BCG logo.)

One obvious way to do that is through an online store. Unless you’re Amazon or Walmart, that won’t be enough because many people don’t know you or your business.

Social networking is the yang to an online store’s yin. The advantage of social networking is that customers can see you in new and creative ways.

For example, Gifted in Jackson, California (where I live and work) has a website with an online store. The owner, Jeannette, knows that’s not enough. So, she uses her Gifted Facebook profile to post helpful information about home schooling kids or posting supportive messages.

She also uses Facebook Stories. Some of them are fun, like challenging other Main Street business owners to a dance-off.

You can also do the same things on Instagram. (Have you noticed the opening screen says “From Facebook” now?) Here you can show photos that feature your products — or even new ones. For example, Bliss by Adeline (blissbyadeline) is promoting her new and fancy face masks.

If you’re on LinkedIn, you can share your stories about working from home. Or you can share links to important websites like the California COVID-19 website.

These are a few suggestions for touching customers in ways that are meaningful to them. I hope this article gives you some seeds to help make your garden grow.

Eric Butow is owner of Butow Communications Group and keeper of this blog. Please leave a comment if you’re so inclined.