Quarantine, pandemic, self-isolation, COVID-19, “wash your hands”, “stay home”, x new cases, rising death toll…
Hearing these words doesn’t exactly encourage spending money. These words suggest saving money in case something terrible happens.
You may be tired of hearing about the virus by now, but now is exactly the time you need to pay extra close attention. People need high quality products and services more than ever. In a market desperate for stability, poor quality products and services will be eradicated. Businesses that rise to the occasion will fare better than businesses that close up shop just when customers need them. No business, no matter how big or small, is immune to this (pun intended). Even medical providers need to step up their game. Practices that provide telemedicine and high quality medical advice remotely (online, via phone) will thrive in this market. Likewise, nonmedical businesses need to step up and cater to customers’ other needs (at a distance).
How not to operate your business during a pandemic
As of March 18, 2020, it appears as though some businesses may go under as a result of the novel coronavirus and its impact on our economy. To make sure your business survives this crash in the market, don’t do theses two things things:
Refuse to adapt to the changing times. Yes, persistence is key. But being stubborn about changing your practices or delivery methods to meet new demands demonstrates rigidity, not persistence. Customers won’t appreciate your refusal to keep up with the times, and your business will suffer. Unfortunately, companies that cannot change their practices due to the nature of the business will likely take a hit regardless of what they do to adapt. Acknowledging and addressing their customers’ fears will help them recover when the economy bounces back.
Refuse to acknowledge the situation. Businesses that act like everything is fine and dandy will appear insensitive. People are scared, and they need to feel seen and heard in a time like this. Acknowledging fears and concerns is paramount to maintaining healthy relationships, so practice this with customers to keep them coming back.
Questions to ask yourself as a business owner
Business owners need to think critically about customers’ evolving needs. And they need to work to meet those needs. Meet those needs by asking yourself:
How can I help alleviate pain right now? Are there certain populations acutely affected that could especially benefit from my business? How can I adjust my marketing tactics to reach them?
Am I offering products and services that can help people who are affected? And if not, why not?
What are my audiences’ fears? Are their concerns mainly health-related or are they more about the economic downturn?
How can you help quell your potential customers’ fears? Can you offer a discount in financial planning services? Can you offer delivery of goods for people quarantined? Can you post words of encouragement or positivity on social media?
The coronavirus pandemic imposes a defining moment for businesses of all kinds. Now is the time to evaluate whether your products or services are truly helping people.
The answers to these questions could determine whether you will sink or swim during a crash in the stock market, so answer them earnestly.
How to offer genuine help
I cannot overemphasize customers’ need for authentic help from businesses. I write about uncertainty from a psychological standpoint in my article here, and it really helps explain why people are panicking. Click to find out exactly how much influence uncertainty has over us (spoiler: it’s a LOT).
So, now you know what you shouldn’t do. Here’s what you should do to survive this particular economic downturn:
Offer online content. If you have a service you can offer online, do it. For example, instead of throwing your hands up and canceling everything, offer online classes via Skype or Zoom.
Offer delivery. You may have products that people don’t want to buy right now because they have to travel to get to them. If you have the means, consider offering delivery. For example, you may want to offer a care package with your products that you deliver to people. This would be a great gift, as a way for people to show other people they care, even if they can’t do it in person right now.
Share, share share. At a time when people are cooped up inside, you know Facebook and Instagram are doing well. Now is a fantastic opportunity to build your brand and share your insights about the pandemic on social media. Share whatever it is your business is doing to help others. Share plans for the future. Share bits of positivity. Share, then share some more.
Address your audience’s uncertainty. Lots of people are anxious about Coronavirus and we don’t know what’s going to happen next. Let your audience know that you understand their fear. Commiserate. Ask how you can help. People like to be heard, so hear ’em out!
If you do these things, you’ll have a much better shot at staying afloat during the coronavirus.
If you can help in any way, do it. Be sensitive to the needs and fears of your customers. This is an opportunity to foster nurturing relationships with your potential customers, so do it!
What is your business doing to stay afloat during these times? Share in the comments below!