From a business point of view, the coronavirus pandemic has made it more important than ever to stay connected with customers. It’s crucial to have clear communication strategies in place to answer the questions our customers are bound to have when faced with such a large-scale change. While the coronavirus is obviously an extreme example, this change could also be something far simpler, like a new industry-wide policy announcement. During such times, customer relationships are all about maintaining your customers’ trust in your business.
Mass emails are the go-to medium for communicating critical information during such times. Don’t let the word “mass” confuse you, though. Even a mass communication strategy requires a scalpel approach, and you should keep the following points in mind when creating a plan tailored for your customers’ needs.
Be clear in your message content
Naturally, customers would like some reassurance that you have everyone’s best interests at heart. However, vague platitudes can only get you so far. Include concrete answers on how your business has or will be affected. Are your offices functioning on a reduced capacity? Will your shipments be delayed? Has manufacturing been paused? Even if your news isn’t positive, being upfront about it will earn your customers’ appreciation. If you have new business processes in place, explain them clearly. For example, if you run a food delivery service, continually emphasize that you now offer zero contact delivery—provide a step-by-step breakdown of what it is and how it works. Finally, make it easy for recipients to engage with or respond to your emails. Highlight any dedicated hotline numbers, lead them to a dedicated landing page with relevant business updates, or provide links for them to track their orders. Simplicity and clarity are key in times of confusion.
Put in some thought about your target audience
Mass messages don’t necessarily have to go out to your entire audience base. Your content can vary with different customer segments. You should tailor your messages based on geography, lead type, product interest, or any other relevant differentiating factors. You can even go deeper, and segment them based on their volume of business, how engaged they are with your brand, and so on. Choosing the right niche within a wide lead or customer base helps make your content appear more personal, and therefore relevant, to each recipient.
Decide who your messenger is, and who receives customer responses
Messages are best received when they come from a trusted source. Obviously, a note from the CEO will have a higher open rate than one from a generic support ID. A message from the sales rep a lead or customer has had contact with in the past will appear more personal. Select your messenger with care to increase the chances of your message being distributed effectively. Conversely, you should also be deliberate in choosing who will receive your customers’ responses. If you expect your customers to respond with standard questions, you can redirect these to your support team. If you are expecting high level, non-standard responses, you can opt to send them directly to a concerned manager.
Schedule messages and follow-ups at appropriate times
Aiming for high open rates, impressions, or engagement is a standard priority with any message you send out. In times of change, however, it becomes even more critical that your message is seen by a majority of your customer base. While you may have an idea of the best time to send out an email, these times may vary if your customers are going through a period of change as well. You should take the opportunity to monitor open rates more closely. It’s okay to send out messages a bit more frequently, since message distribution is a higher priority. Finally, if you have several distinct updates to share, you can send out multiple follow-ups. You can plan a series of three to four short emails and send them out in a clear flow based on those who have received or opened the previous messages.
Automate response steps and track message performance
Sending out a high volume of emails might result in a high volume increase of redundant manual tasks like data entry, call scheduling, and so forth. Where possible, you should automate these response actions. For instance, if you send out a mail asking your customers if they would like to speak to a company rep, you can schedule calls with those who respond. You can also schedule calls with customers in case of an email bounce. Or, you could create follow-up tasks to check personally on their order status if they engage with mails talking about shipment changes. Doing all of this automatically reduces a substantial amount of overhead and streamlines business operations. Finally, you should regularly track the statistics for all of these emails and refine your messaging or targeting if needed.
To reach out to your customer base, you may also choose to disseminate critical information via SMS, social media, advertisements, and other mass communication channels suitable to your business. While the majority of this article applies to email communication, it can be relevant to other channels as well. Zoho CRM comes with features to manage and track both mass emails and social media communications. CRM also includes a host of useful integrations for SMS communications. You can use all of these features to implement your mass communication strategy remotely and analyze its performance.
Mass customer communication is just one element of your sales framework. The upcoming posts in this series will highlight various other such elements. With Zoho CRM, you can build and implement your sales strategy all from the comfort of your home. Visit our website to gain a holistic look into how Zoho CRM is the perfect remote sales software.