As soon as COVID-19 began to take hold and countries began to take emergency measures to protect lives, brands started to look at how best to serve their customers during the crisis.
It became clear that business was going to have to change on a massive level as people struggled to stay safe and follow government guidelines for isolation. And as real-world stores and businesses closed their doors, brands had to think fast about how they could possibly help people who were pretty much stuck inside the house all day.
Part of the service change for brands has revolved around simply making customers feel better. Good examples of this have come from major fashion brands. Used to delivering a visual experience on social media, some fashion brands have decided to hold online dance parties and fashion tutorials, all in an attempt to make a deeper and more meaningful connection with their audience.
Most strikingly, Dior hosted one of it’s famous exhibitions entirely online. Focusing on the work of its founder, it pulled together exhibits, archived items, and many more examples of what Christian Dior achieved and what made the brand famous. Customers could browse the exhibition online, so they were having a visit to a virtual Dior exhibition. This was giving the customers what they wanted, while keeping them safe.
This approach, where a brand uses its social media resources to provide comfort for its customers, is becoming quite common as lockdown embeds into society. With most people spending most of their days at home, any distraction that is from a familiar space is a way of serving customers. It’s also a nice thing to do.
The service part
Customer service has obviously felt a particularly high level of pressure in recent weeks. With customers buying more and more online, and supply chains being negatively impacted on a huge scale, brands are finding that it is vitally important to have a good and responsive level of customer service.
One of the very best social media platforms for customer service is Twitter. The quick way people can access a brand, and the speed at which a brand can respond, means that companies are improving their Twitter presence, and using it to primarily deliver great customer service.
Now it is more important than ever for a brand to be strong on Twitter. Being able to offer quick responses through a dedicated team inside the brand, will ensure you give customers the best service when they have a problem they need solving.
However, when you dig deeper into what brands are going through right now, it soon becomes obvious that the problem is bigger than one might think. As customer service needs intensify, at the same time there is a responding decrease in the number of staff members available to deal with such needs. This means that capacity is lower than ever before.
Many brands have responded to this challenge by making self-service much easier for customers. With self-service resources on social media, customers can simply find resources and apps that help them solve their own queries and problems quicker, without the need to contact a real person. This is obviously most useful in the areas of customer service bots, and live chat facilities.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway brands can have from the epidemic and how it affects communities is that empathy is key. Everyone has been affected by COVID-19, and a brand itself will have employees that have been adversely affected, even if just through having to stay at home. This needs noting, and it needs to drive the social media approach moving forward.
Brands have to make sure that they use their data wisely, and focus on communicating with care and precision. Sales messages are currently off the menu, and it is now about making sure that brands know their customers, and are able to communicate in a language those customers understand.
Much of the commerce that is going in the world right now is happening online. But that doesn’t mean that selling has to be ramped up. Instead, the brands that truly engage with customers and their needs will be those that bring most value. And that’s the key area.
Value is what customers crave. And It’s not just monetary value either. Customers want to know that brands are looking out for them, that they aren’t blinkered and profiteering, and that they can always find the answer they need from a brand when they need to.
In other words, brands have to stay happy, use empathy, and focus on helping customers more.