In CRM, it’s important to emphasise the ‘R’ - really hone in on relationships. When we look at the definition of relationships according to the Oxford Dictionary (“The way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected”) this means something completely different today than it did four weeks ago.
Our lives have been upended, and relationships have taken on a heightened meaning. And while customer relationship management is still critical, personal relationship management now has a spotlight on it, because we’ve changed the way we engage.
Our personal experiences reveal three key lessons that we can apply to business right now:
1. Be empathetic
2. Have something meaningful to say
3. Support in any way you can
Empathy goes a long way right now
We all have our own circumstances that are affecting us right now. Whether we are living alone, with kids, or helping out elderly relatives, we are all facing new challenges. Whether you believe your situation is harder or different, practice empathy and patience.
As a brand, try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and show that you understand their specific challenges. And while their concerns may not always make sense or be directly relevant to your brand, it’s important to be cognisant of their situation and reflect that in your tone and communication. Business and personal lives have little separation, work-life balance has fallen by the wayside, and everything feels personal right now.
Don’t just talk for the sake of talking
Days are hectic and stress is high. Consumers don’t want phone calls, video calls, and general communication to feel like a chore. Messages, even short ones, should be relevant and meaningful.
Just as we cater our conversations with our family and friends, make sure you are doing that for consumers - think about how your brand or product affects your customers’ lives. Don’t send out sweeping, broad communications, really think about the message you are sharing and how it may be perceived.
Figure out what support you can give and what is needed
This is the perfect time to ask your customers what they need and what they want. Right now some people can do more than others, based on their financial stability, health, or location. Once you understand what they need, you can determine what your brand can offer. This could be on a 1:1 basis or for a group of people. Don’t make assumptions - it is important to be direct and ask your customers what they need.
The Relationship Evolution will continue
Relationships have taken on a new meaning. Things we used to take for granted, like meeting a friend for coffee, grabbing a drink, or even giving a hug, all seem like distant memories. And just as we, as humans, long for connection and socialisation, brands long for engagement and sales. Brands that are empathetic, have something meaningful to say, and support their customers any way they can will have the competitive edge.
Melissa Berger is SVP connections strategy and NA CRM lead at Digitas US