Want to find a way to stand out from your competition and make a great first impression? Join Andy and Fabian on The Bridge as they chat with Jason Price, president and co-founder of Covideo, a video email software company that is enabling businesses to engage with their customers in a more meaningful way using video.
According to Google, 72% of consumers prefer to watch a video of a product as opposed to reading about it. So stop writing those boring plain text emails and tune in to find out how to have a significantly bigger impact using video. Like what you hear? Make sure to leave us a review and subscribe to The Bridge.
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The COVID-19 pandemic, commonly known as the coronavirus outbreak, has completely changed how companies do business. However, you can still connect with customers through video while maintaining social distance. Right now, customers are hungry for human interaction and you can provide that and move them closer to a transaction.
Test Your Technology
Video consultations or chats may be new to you, but it’s important not to let the customer know that. The time to troubleshoot potential technical issues is BEFORE you connect with the customer.
Test your WIFI or cellular signal. Perhaps video chat a colleague to do a dry run just to ensure all the bugs are worked out.
Don’t forget to turn on “do not disturb” to avoid unwanted interruptions!
Prepare your space
It’s important to make the background and space you are touring look as wonderful as possible. Before the video call, adjust the lighting by turning on lamps and overhead fixtures and opening the blinds.
Make sure there is minimal background noise. You may need to turn off the furnace or air conditioning. If there are any loud appliances humming, you should unplug them temporarily. Just don’t forget to plug them back in when you are done!
Prepare for the video consultation as if it were an in-person conversation and adjust all the little things that someone might notice.
Confirm the details
Confirm with your shopper the details of the video consultation. Here are some questions to ask beyond the date and time:
How many shoppers?
Who is calling who?
What platform are you using to communicate?
Confirming these details beforehand will help make the call go smoothly!
Always thank customers for doing the video consultation once it has ended. Be sure to send them pictures and videos to remind them of the best parts of the specific product or property they looked at, for example.
If they had questions during the video call, be sure to reiterate the answers in the follow-up communication and close the loop on any other questions they had.
Finally, include and clearly describe the next step you want them to take.
This is the time to make your website work even harder for your company. It’s the first source of information for most people and you want it to be up-to-date and informative. There are several key ways to optimize your website.
Add Your COVID-19 Statement to your Website
There is a patchwork of stay-at-home orders around the nation. One county may be ordering only essential travel, while another says it’s business as usual. Consumers are also confused about what businesses are considered “essential” and are open.
Let your shoppers know what your store’s plans are during the COVID-19 pandemic by adding a COVID-19 statement to your homepage. It should be the first thing they see.
Keep your shoppers up-to-date and make them knowledgeable about whether you are open, any reduced hours and how you will connect with shoppers and keep them safe. Offering free delivery on web or phone orders? Is curbside pick-up available? Can documents be signed electronically? That should be clear in your policy statement.
Make User Connection Simple Online
Make technology work for you. Ensure your website has the means to connect with your potential customers. Enable live chat bots, easily show direct lines of contact on your website, and equip your team with text messaging.
Consider using a virtual scheduling tool to set up video consultations or tours with a member of your sales team. PERQ just launched a Virtual Consultation Scheduler as part of its Marketing Cloud to help retailers weather the coronavirus outbreak.
Make connecting with your shoppers as easy as possible during this time to capture leads and turn them into sales.
Prioritize Digital Experiences
You’ve spruced up your website to make policies clear and connection simple. But, how are you getting customers to your site? You also need to take action to make getting to your website easy and focus on ways to draw potential customers there. Here are some areas to focus on:
Use website conversion software like interactive quizzes and assessments to help shoppers narrow their choices
Lean into SEO
Post on social media with links to your website and boost visually-appealing posts
Run digital advertising linking shoppers back to your website
Your biggest asset during social distancing is the company website. Be sure you are using it effectively.
Social media activity is skyrocketing as Americans search for ways to connect in the age of social distancing. You can use this to your advantage to reach potential customers. Social media marketing shouldn’t be intimidating. Follow these easy tips to connect with your customers during these difficult times.
First, Be Human!
Be empathetic, be authentic. That will go a long way. Everyone is scared and everyone has uncertainty. Acknowledging that will help you connect with your customers.
Post your latest store hours, closings, deals, etc. related to COVID-19 on all platforms. Let your shoppers know just because your storefront might be closed, shopping can still be done. Customers should be able to tell from social media how and when you can serve them.
Share the same content on all platforms. Don’t worry about reinventing the wheel and sharing different content on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (or whatever platforms you use.) Consistency will make it easy for the consumer to find your information, regardless of the platform they are on.
Try to anticipate the information customers may be looking for on social media. Of course, they want to know if you are still open. But, do you have special shopping hours for at-risk populations? Are you slowing deliveries during the outbreak? Are you offering incredible deals? Post about these aspects of your business often.
One final thought. Consider paying to boost your social media posts. Even a small budget will help more people see your posts. But, be strategic and only boost those posts that a customer would find most valuable such as a big sale.
These are crazy times. People who never had the option to work from home suddenly are finding themselves trying to learn how to be productive with the kids at home, the dog barking, and that pile of dishes and laundry calling them away from work. It’s not easy. But, there are ways to make it better.
Have a dedicated workspace at home
It’s tempting to bring your laptop into bed or flip on the TV while you try to work from home. The key word there is “try.” Avoid that pitfall by setting up a dedicated space in your home. Having a space away from distractions will help you stay engaged and tick tasks off your to-do list!
Maintain normal work-from-home hours
Set a schedule and follow-it. It is easy to start to blend work life and personal life. Following a schedule will help relieve that stress. Start work at the same time each day and try to get ready as if you are going into the office. Get out of your pajamas. It helps set the tone for the day.
One WFH (work-from-home) veteran picks up her purse and carries it down to her basement with her to start the day, just as she would when going to an office. At the end of the work day, she brings it back upstairs to signal work is over. She’s got a short commute!
Keep in mind, you may need to set boundaries with your co-workers, clients and bosses who are bored and using work to cope with self-isolation. Make it clear an 8 p.m. conference call with no emergency interferes with the children’s bedtime and suggest a morning call instead.
Email, IM, text, video call; however you decide to stay connected, lean into it. Overcommunicate, even if it feels like too much, everyone will appreciate it. It’s easy for coworkers to become isolated and lose track of what the team is doing or for customers to lose track of deadlines and next steps in this unprecedented time. Make it a little easier for them to manage by keeping them in the loop.
Many people who work from home regularly end up having faster response times to messages, mainly because they want to prove they are, in fact, working. That’s why it’s so important to take small breaks and set a schedule. (See above!)
Show Compassion to Coworkers Working from Home
Understand that your team has kids, spouses, animals and other family members that aren’t used to them being home. Show compassion and be open to the fact that work hours might not be “normal.” If you need someone urgently, call or text them. They may be busy feeding the baby or taking a walk to keep the dog from ripping the house apart and not watching email like a hawk. Give them the graciousness you would like in return. We can all use a little grace right now.
Our world is not the same one we knew a short time ago. We’re coping with working from home, becoming our kids’ teachers, economic pressures, job losses and countless other stressors brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Be kind to yourself and set yourself up to stress less and achieve more.
Have a Routine
The days of social distancing are running together with no commute or school for the kids to mark the days. The solution: make a schedule that everyone can get on board with and try to stick with it, as much as is possible. Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t always work, and it’s sure not to work some days! This will free up some mental bandwidth and ease strain on the entire household.
Declutter Your Home or Workspace
Piles of clutter are mentallyexhausting. Now is the time to get to work and clean your home or workspace. Cleaning your surroundings offers a sense of control in the face of uncertainty.
If you have the time, reorganize and toss or donate the items you no longer use. Many charities are closed right now, so ready items for donation and put them in a designated space like the car trunk or garage if you can’t immediately take them out of the house.
Maintain Community and Social Connection
Don’t just text or email. Pick up the phone and call! FaceTime, Skype you name it. Hear a familiar voice, see their face. Social connection is key during this time.
Miss your friends or co-workers? Throw a virtual cocktail party on Zoom or another virtual meeting app. You may even set a dress code so everyone has a reason to get dressed up and put on makeup! Spend time talking about what you’ve been binging on Netflix (Tiger King!) and stay away from talk about the pandemic. The key is to relax and have fun.
Meditating or breathing can drastically reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Our team’s go-to apps are Calm and Headspace, but there are many good apps available.
Practice mindfulness by taking a walk outside and really listening to and observing nature. Don’t feel like a walk? Just sit and look at the birds and plants. When you do, the coronavirus stress seems further away.