The global pandemic caused by the CoronaVirus (COVID-19) has negatively impacted the airlines, hotel, cruise, and events industries at an alarming rate. Government-sanctioned and self-imposed quarantines are in effect in Italy, France, New York–the world’s largest luxury markets.
As festivals, conferences, colleges, public schools, and other large gatherings of people get canceled daily, and the stock market plunges and rebounds like a yo-yo, companies who want to survive so they can thrive get to develop a strategy to pivot if they still want to have profits in 2020.
Surprisingly, while this crisis is breaking our interpersonal connection, it has truly paved the way for technology to take the lead in connecting communities. As people become hesitant to, or in some cases, cannot leave their homes, they will do the following: rely on their smartphones, tablets, and computers more than ever before to get information, and stay connected. Here are four ways brands can use technology to combat in-person disconnection with their customers.
1. Host live sessions on social media.
If you haven’t been doing demos on IG, You Tube or Facebook Live, now’s the time. But provide content in context. Hairstylists who cannot do their clients’ chair, can provide at-home styling tips; restaurants and bars that can no longer serve customers (I don’t think drinks are on the takeout menu), can share quick and easy recipes they can do at home. Become a brand that understands the impact this has on people’s lives–literally and figuratively–and offer them insight on how to cope. D-Nice, who was once a part of pioneering hip hop group, KRS-One, and who has been deejaying for the past 20 years (from the White House to BET events) decided to do what he loves and share it with the people. Last week he began doing deejay sets on Instagram Live, for several days. The first day he has about 300 people, and he had about 240k followers. By Saturday, he had 100k people tuning in–including First Lady Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Oprah, Halle Berry, and the list went on and on. His followers grew to 1.5 million by Sunday. He shared what he had and gave the people listening to something positive to do. And in response, people acted like they were in the club, and tipped the deejay via his CashApp. He pivoted. And his business won’t perish.
2. Set up your chatbot for social messaging.
Chatbots are the perfect customer service representative as they provide 24/7 access to specific information about your brand and what it can do for them. If you currently only offer FAQs and conversational language, beef it up with transactional and predictive dialogue that can answer those FAQs customers consistently ask.
3. Host a social crawl.
People are seeking things to occupy their time. Host a social crawl or scavenger hunt with special prizes. You might not be giving away cars or trips, but you can offer prizes that may be of equal value to your customer.
4. Focus on Purpose
So many feel helpless and are not sure what to do. Consumers are seeking the heart of the companies they purchase from and what to know they’re taking the lead to be compassionate to their employees and their end-users. Share what you are doing to be of service to the community at large and provide an opportunity for your customers to participate.