How Should Businesses Communicate With Customers As We Enter The Second Wave Of The Pandemic?

As the situation around Covid-19 continues to unfold, it becomes clearer still, that the economic impact of the pandemic is still developing. Despite the challenging climate, customer communication continues to be of paramount importance for brands navigating the road to recovery. Businesses need to focus on improving customer engagement and ensuring that their brand remains front of mind in an increasingly competitive market. Afterall, with no customers, there is no business; and arguably customer retention has never been more important.

While understandably, many brands have been closely monitoring and updating budgets to align with the new normal, it is worth noting that only 8% of consumers agree that advertising budgets should be paused.

So how should businesses re-prioritise budgets to ensure effective communication and engagement with customers during this essential time? Below we have outlined some considerations for businesses planning their communication strategy as we enter the second wave of the pandemic.


Implement robust feedback structures

Although lockdown restrictions have eased for the majority of the country, it's important to remember that the pandemic is unprecedented and how this will continue to unfold is as yet unknown. As the situation develops, individuals will continue to adapt and their needs will continue to change. As has always been the case, for any business to be successful, brands need to be able to adapt to the ever changing needs and trends of their customers - and in the current climate, the pace of change is likely to be far greater.


With this in mind, it’s vital that businesses have robust systems in place, to collect feedback and quickly implement any required changes. Utilising SMS Surveys or email surveys are great channels to use in order to quickly collect feedback in a non intrusive manner. This can be particularly useful in situations where businesses may have introduced new online services or need to make changes to their opening hours for example.


Monitor and evaluate your communication channels

For customer communications to be successful, businesses need to abide by the classic principles of right message, right channel, right time. Clearly these will all depend on a business’ target audience, but given that many brands opted to use email as their main form of customer communication during the height of the pandemic, causing a 44% increase in the number of emails sent to individuals, it's worthwhile reevaluating your communication channels to see which are proving effective.


For businesses keen to stand out among the noise, SMS is proving to be a popular choice with customers x35 more likely to see a brands text message than email. In addition, SMS boasts a 95% open rate, which is even more impressive considering the email average of 20.9%, there can be great benefits to utilising SMS for customer communications.


Assess communication tone

It is paramount that businesses are mindful of the situation surrounding the pandemic, and a large part of being able to do this successfully, is being able to correctly ‘read the room’ of your audience. Over 50% of customers reported that they would like companies to talk about their brand in a more carefree way but it’s important to get this balance right.


Emily’s ran a fantastic outdoor campaign in April and a huge part of the success was owed to the fact that the brand was careful to poke fun at themselves and not the situation. Clearly this more jovial approach won’t be appropriate for every communication, but it just goes to show the importance of understanding your target audience when setting the tone of your communications. Ultimately, businesses who are able to get the right balance, are more likely to spark engagement with their audience.


Consider the long term impact

Especially during the height of lockdown, the majority of businesses had to amend and reprioritise budgets. For many reacting in a swift and responsive manner, meant businesses were well positioned for reopening. But now that things have somewhat settled, it’s important to revisit these decisions and consider the longer term impact. It was recently reported that businesses with a stronger brand reputation and awareness were able to recover up to 9 times faster than others. Again this shows just how important it is to ensure that your brand name remains front of mind to customers in the coming months and how related budget decisions should be seriously considered.


Although the next few months are uncertain, brands who are able to remain transparent and consistent with their customer communications, place themselves in the best position for recovery and are likely to benefit from a higher volume of loyal customers and brand advocates.