Showing Care and Providing Value and Service During the Covid-19 Pandemic
There is ongoing confusion around the Covid-19 Pandemic sweeping the world in general and the United States in particular. While nearly all agree that staying at home is the most responsible and helpful thing families and individuals who aren’t deemed essential workforce members can do to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of the disease… there is more debate around the role of business in this uncertain time.
To market or not to market?
To serve or to close? These questions aren’t as simple as they seem on the surface and there certainly isn’t a one size fits all correct answer. Closing non-essential businesses may be good for our physical health in the short term but what about our economic health in the short and long term? Each industry and each individual business within them will need to asses the needs of their customers, clients, or patrons to decide if maintaining services is a viable and safe option.
As far as marketing goes…
there is a thin line between showing up in service to your clientele, community, and employees and taking advantage of a horrible situation solely for profit. I love profit. I help businesses increase their profits; it’s literally what I do. So, don’t for a minute think that I want anyone to go out of business or even to sit down and shut up. Nope! BUT now is a time to think before you share and be sensitive to the plight of those around you.
For many, this temporary shut down is more than staying inside with their family and tying to figure out this homeschooling and working from home thing. It is panic time. It’s how am I going to get food to feed my family when I was already struggling. Yes, vacation plans are cancelled and that really sucks. But there are people who have just had major life events put on hold. Weddings. Reunions. Visits to elderly and sick relatives who may pass away before the travel bans and quarantines end. There are people stranded away from their families. Times are tough. Now is not the time to blithely go about business as usual or marketing as usual. Now is the time to step up and serve. Now is the time to be genuinely helpful. Now is the time to share useful, relevant information that can actually help your customers.
So, how do you provide this magical, helpful information without seeming like a fat cat profit monger?
Be mindful of your customers’ daily reality right now.
Imagine the struggles they are facing. Whether that is minding the kids at home, caring for elderly relatives without spreading the virus to them, getting enough food to feed their family, trying to keep in touch with family who don’t live nearby, getting their home or car repaired, or many other daily trials.
Think about how you can help them.
It’s really as simple as that. If what you are offering will be useful or good then let them know about it. Let your customers know that you care and get creative. Offer discounts if you can or payment plans if you can’t.
Let them know what you are doing to serve the community.
If you are able to donate time, talent, or money to a local cause let your clients know. If your business is struggling it’s okay to say so right now and let them know that you need them as much as they need you - this is especially the case with restaurants and similar small businesses.
Let your customers know what you are doing to keep your employees safe and how you plan to offer your services safely.
One example I've found of a company that is getting it right:
RepairSmith offers the most convenient way to repair and maintain your car and they were already doing this before the crisis started. You can choose to get your cars repaired directly in their driveways or at one of their certified repair shops. They always make the entire car repair experience easy from start to finish by offering upfront pricing, online booking, after-hours support, and a service warranty. Now, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, they've added in safety measures to make sure that their employees and customers stay safe.
Their expert delivery mechanics are equipped with company vans and state-of-the-art tools and equipment allowing them to handle about 85% of repairs on-site. If shop-level tools are required, you can drop off at one of our fully-vetted shops. They stand behind all work with a 12-month / 12,000-mile warranty.
Currently, they service Greater Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, as well as the Bay Area and Sacramento. They have plans to roll out to other major cities this year. I can't wait until they are everywhere!
RepairSmith always offers tips in their blog articles on car maintenance, and car advice; they are still providing valuable content that now includes specific, actionable steps you can take to keep your car safe and operational whilst maintaining social distancing. Job well done.
We are all in this together. More so than any other social or economic crisis in the past because of the added element of our health. Most of all in this time do your best to be kind. If there is anything I can do for you, please don't hesitate to reach out.