How to Manage Customers During a Crisis: Actionable Sales Idea During Covid

The pandemic seems to have put on fluffy slippers, brewed a cup of herbal tea, and nestled cozily in our lives. While deep down in our hearts we may hope for as prompt an end to this crisis, as its sudden onset, the reality now is that we have to make the best out of this new normal.

Businesspeople the world over keep reinventing themselves to survive this downward curve with minimal detriment. As the creator of one of the best CRM systems for small businesses, the Nimble team sees clients finding new ways, adjusting, and regrouping to ride out this storm. We’ve compiled a few tips on how to increase sales during COVID.

Software for managing customers is also the new norm nowadays, you’d think. 

The truth is that many dinosaur businesses are oblivious to the fact, that using excel sheets, pen, and paper for contact management is kinda like riding a horse to get from A to B in LA. Time-consuming, exhausting, and expensive at the end of the day. Why dinosaurs? As they are sure to go extinct if they don’t succumb to the charms of digitalization.

This is why we are providing some of the insights and successes of our clients and more that combine both digital and non-digital marketing methods.

Empathy Is the New Sustainability

While forgetting about nature and the environment is not what we ask for here, the message is simple: for a year or two, while this crisis lasts, humanity was forced to put it as the top priority.

Businesses struggle to keep open, but many people find themselves on the edge: financially, morally, and physically. 

Small family businesses, specifically those in tourism, beauty, and fitness are facing losses incompatible with staying afloat. Some countries provide no government support and commerce is left on their own.

Big businesses seem to have bigger accumulated assets for such cases and they are the ones setting the pace for empathy. Amazon, for example, has undertaken several initiatives to help employees, customers, and communities, even though the action plan came after Amnesty International urged the company to invest in the health and safety of its employees.

how amazon is helping their employees during covid

how amazon is helping their customers during covid

Among the other 150 actions designed to provide extra protection to its clients, Amazon reviewed its cleaning and sanitizing norms, offers “unattended” and “front-porch” delivery, as well as set in place price gouging counteractions.

Another tech giant, Facebook, also takes care of its employees by providing monetary help, introducing up to 30 days of paid time to take care of their relatives in case they get COVID, and helping finance public testing in the Bay Area.

The company also came up with a few initiatives designed to help customers survive: The Small Business Grant program by Facebook allocated $100 million in cash to be distributed among applicants in 30 countries. 

The company also provided a possibility for businesses to share their gift cards online or food ordering options.

If you feel your company has something to share with the community – this is a good time to rush into action. Not many entities are in a position to enhance the life of community/partners/employees at these trying times. So if your ship is still floating, it may be the time to get a few sinking fellas onboard.

7 Actions For Companies to Connect with Customers During Crises

McKinsey & Company produced a thorough piece titled “Connecting with Customers in Times of Crises” which explains how a company can engage with clients. Even though those actions may be quite altruistic on the surface, they still can help improve sales during COVID as a side effect.

connecting with customers during covid

Individual Safety:

  • Reduce risk in physical interaction by implementing strict hygiene & sanitation routine and adhering to social distancing rules.
  • Reinvent the product portfolio towards the lines that can help address safety issues related to COVID now.

Security & Stability:

  • Extend material or otherwise pragmatic support to clients in a financially tough situation;
  • Elevate the morals of the customers stuck at home by any creatively designed means.

Convenience And Ease Of Use

  • Embrace digitalization and encourage clients and employees towards digital ways of doing work, shopping, ordering, etc.

Emotional Bond & Feeling Of Trust

  • Be available to your customers at all times. Treat them with extra cordiality and understanding;
  • Engage in community work in line with your genuine corporate values & mission.

how to emotionally connect with your customers

While the above-listed approaches will help sales management during COVID, they are initially designed to nurture the long-term relationship that goes beyond the trying times into the future, which may bounce back to the norm eventually.

Let’s now review some of the more practical customer relationship management during COVID, that can be useful across many industries.

Sales Management During COVID: Tried Techniques That Work

Try Diversifying Your Product Line

You may pride yourself on making amazing macaroons in your dessert café, but in times of crisis diversifying your product line into savory options may be a good idea. Croissants with prosciutto and gruyere cheese sound just about the menu item to cheer up those in distress.

If you have a website, you might want to create a takeaway service of packages family deals for breakfast/brunch. Not only do you relieve those parents who are fed up with homeschooling, working, and catering for the entire family, you can also make it more affordable without impacting your bottom-line due to the wholesale family-size scale of order.

Pretty much every fashion house does its own branded premium lines of P.P.E; but at the beginning of the outbreak, many designers, like Christian Siriano, took to producing regular medical masks to make up for the global shortage.

Looking outside of your comfort zone is a great thing to do anytime, specifically in times of force majeure and global insecurity.

Packaging Matters: Explore Out-Of-The-Box Possibilities 

It takes one a close look at the demand and needs of the customers to understand what it is they are needing now.

Kits turned out to be quite a great way to boost sales for many businesses. Starting from kits to keep home-schooled children busy cooking pizza to kits from Chick-fil-A with parmesan chicken fillet and pasta for two.

Provide Contactless Delivery 

Curbside pickup and contactless delivery both help save your team and your customer’s health.

If you trade in products, not services, there is no better and easier measure to be taken in terms of increasing your sales right there.

contactless delivery

With the second wave of COVID on/under the way, too many people are going to be stuck self-isolating and need deliveries. Cater to this growing number of clients, but don’t forget to keep your employee safe from catching the virus while on duty too. So contactless delivery is a classical win-win.

Gift Card Sales for B2C Segment

Gift cards are a quick cash fix for a business that struggles with cash flow.

If your costs are manageable as in restaurants, or mostly fixed, like in a gym, gift cards may be an option to consider.

Promoting via social media, selling online, and upselling to customers in-house are just some ideas to get an influx of cash. 

Better even: offer an incentive for your buyers to cash in right now: it could be a $10 gift card if you buy a $50 card or a bottle of wine for each $X card if you run an eatery.

Set Up an Online Store

Web presence is a norm in 2020, but some smaller businesses still have not taken it online.

Such entrepreneurs may see this as a window of opportunity to establish a website.

Yet again, just like with advertising, there are plenty of groups on Facebook whose members will be happy to set up a nice one-page site at a symbolic $100-200.

Offer Discounts Online

Whoever your target audience is, they have social media. Moreover, in all probability, they love it and use it often.

With an average CPC of just under $1 on Facebook, many businesses with a 3-digit average check may afford to run a campaign or two. 

If you are new to advertising, this path may seem scary. But in all honesty, there are so many skilled digital marketers out there on freelance looking for projects at symbolic rates.

To start your search, you can try local marketing groups, where people are advertising their services or asking access to the account to handle a campaign free of charge as a newbie fresh after the course.

All things considered, social media and Google ads are extremely effective when done right. The best thing is that you can stop any campaign at any time with no obligations or start with really small budgets to test the water.

The easiest thing is to try boosting a Facebook post yourself. It truly is no rocket science, and YouTube has many tutorials on how to do it. You don’t need to create a somewhat complicated Business Manager account for that, but just promote your discount post with a few clicks from your feed.

Provide Online Consultations & Classes

Many gyms have been shut for months. One of the methods of managing customers during COVID for them was organizing online classes for their members.

Personal trainers could also provide services over Zoom or send specially-developed training plans for a home to their regular clients. The service may be available at a discounted rate as a token of support by the business of its members during times of crisis.

Self-improvement and self-education have seen a drastic upswing in demand during the crises. So if one of your colleagues is knowledgeable enough to create a course – this could also be a good idea. 

Equip Your WFH Team With Right Digital Tools To Stay Efficient Remotely

Working from home may be safe in terms of social distancing, but it’s not all that great for productivity.

People tend to get distracted, look for sources of endorphins in the shape of social media more often than they would in the office, have a smoke every half hour.

To enhance customer management during the COVID19 outbreak, salespeople need tools to plan their day, communicate with clients, video call them, and so on.

While we have several articles on the best tools for remote teams, that cater to every need of a sales rep, let us quickly provide an overview of the Customer Relationship Management tool.

Nimble CRM for example has the following key features that help better manage customers – when business is as usual and when things come crumbling down:

  1. Contact management
  2. Email marketing
  3. Calendar, reminders, and scheduling
  4. Task management
  5. Deal management
  6. Pipeline management
  7. Social insights
  8. Profile enrichment [Nimble Prospector extension]
  9. Reporting & analytics

All of these modules are interlinked with each other, so if you find yourself in a customer profile, you can send an email, assign a task, schedule an appointment, enrich contact details, review the team’s correspondence with the contact, attach a document or note to it.

Nimble CRM – The Ideal Customer Managing Tool In Crises

On average our clients save 90 minutes a day with the help of Nimble CRM.

This helped us collect over 1500 genuine reviews on Capterra, where Nimble is consistently among the best CRM systems.

With 140 thousand users worldwide, Nimble functions smoothly and error-free.

The system can be integrated with 2000+ apps via Zapier or with any software that has API.

If you want to try Nimble and make your conclusions – be our guest. Just insert your email and enjoy your 2-week access to full features for free.

Let’s get those customers managed professionally and efficiently with this user-friendly CRM so that they can grow those sales even in the times of COVID!