Customer Communication in Times of Crisis

Sabine Kowalski
Content Marketing Managerin
Kundenkommunikation in Zeiten einer Krise:

How do you handle the whole Corona topic in your corporate communications? 

Covid-19 has been keeping the world in suspense for quite some time now. Within a very short time, priorities have shifted for many people and companies. We have also noticed these changes and are wondering: Can we still do our everyday email marketing in view of this pandemic? You have certainly also been thinking about these things.

These days, it feels wrong to simply continue your usual communication with your newsletter subscribers. Companies should not take advantage of the current situation to sell their stuff, and it may appear insensitive to ignore Corona and keep on communicating as usual. However, email marketing always comes with customer retention that now is more important than ever: it offers a direct way of communicating digital solutions as alternatives for otherwise physical offers to your customers or simply keeping them up-to-date about what’s going on in your business right now.

One thing’s clear: In times of crisis, it’s essential to not stop your corporate communications but to stay in touch with your customers. However, you don’t want to end up as one among many others choking up the inboxes of your subscribers – especially, if you only want to issue a statement on Covid-19. If Corona doesn’t have an effect on your business, it’s not necessary to talk to your customers about that topic.

So, what’s the right way of doing customer communication in times of a crisis? Here are some ideas we believe are relevant for your email marketing:

Be Empathetic.

Acknowledge that we’re dealing with an exceptional situation these days. It’s not only a hard time for your business, but also for each and every one of your customers. Buying new stuff is most probably not at the top of their priority lists right now – presumably, you feel the same way. So, don’t take advantage of the current situation to send entertaining marketing promotions: offering your customers a 19% discount code called COVID19 quickly seems out of place.

Instead, give the whole topic some space in your communication before you go back to doing your usual business. This means: Watch the tone of your email texts in view of the current events and react to possible changes in the behavior of your customers. We also recommend taking a second look at your already planned mailings and campaigns and check whether you need to change, pause or delay them. As things are changing so fast, it’s best to stay flexible with your newsletter schedule.

Tip: Keep an Eye on Your Reportings

Especially now, when news on Covid-19 pop up every hour, you might watch fluctuations in the behavior of your customers. You’ll probably also notice this in your Reportings. That’s why it is important to keep a close eye on your open and click rates in times of Corona. They tell you whether you hit the right tone with your customers or whether you should review and edit your communication.

Be Relevant.

Only share updates on this topic that are relevant to your customers. Does Covid-19 impose restrictions on customers? Do you have to cancel events, do processes change? In that case, it makes sense to send your customers an update on the changes.

Screenshot: Abercrombie & Fitch informs their customers that they have closed their stores.

It’s helpful to work with segments when sending your message. Only send your Corona update to your active customers. Recipients who haven’t bought from your shop in 3 months are most likely not interested in receiving crisis updates from your business these days.

Online retailers can use targeted communication to let active customers know if certain products are still available or sold out. You can also add a button that interested customers can click on if they want to be informed about restocked products. Use tagging to send a targeted update to these customers when their favorite items are available again – we’ll show you how in an Advent Calendar example.

Communication for PR Purposes – Does That Make Sense?

Of course, it’s possible to show your customers what your business is doing for society in times of Corona. Many businesses make their team work from home, fashion brands have shifted their production to medical protective wear, and distilleries produce disinfectants instead of schnaps. Overall, however, it’s of greater value to your customers to receive updates that affect them personally. If you’re doing good deeds and want to talk about them, you’d rather want to share this on your social media channels.

Show Alternatives

Tell your customers about what’s going on in your business. Do you offer online solutions such as webinars as trainings in person are no longer possible? Have you implemented an online shop to continue sending goods to regular customers? Tell them! Local restaurants have established a delivery service, yoga classes from local gyms are now available as online videos. Another added value for customers: extended conversion rights and payment deadlines. We’re thrilled to see all the creative solutions businesses have come up with in times of this crisis. It’s worth sharing them with your customers!

Use the Time for Email Marketing Basics

In times of uncertain developments, it’s important to stand on a firm foundation. If your everyday business is running slower these days, you can use the time to strengthen your knowledge of email marketing basics. Start working on processes and structures you didn’t have the capacities for. Develop a strategy for generating new recipients for your newsletter. Or start creating email automation workflows to keep your customer communication going, for example a welcome series for new email subscribers.

Helpful Content for Your Email Marketing at a Glance:

Free Download: eBook “Success factors of Email Marketing”

Support Center with instructions and contact form

All there is on PUSHIII about “Email Marketing Basics”

Result: Stay in Touch with Your Customers Even in Times of Crisis

Even if you feel a little insecure in times of Corona: Stay active and keep in touch with your customers. Be sensitive and flexible: The topic and tone of planned emails can quickly change in the light of new findings and developments of Covid-19. But as long as you approach your customers with understanding and relevant added value, they will appreciate that you are still there for them – even if only in digital form for the time being.

Important Note

Due to the current situation we are unfortunately not working in our beautiful new home, the //CRASH Building but from our home office. Nevertheless, we do our very best to be available for you as usual in these times and to provide you with valuable information and helpful tips & tricks.

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