Successful brands must convey empathy in COVID-19 aftermath

Ashley Sava

Do you want to retain customers in the pandemic aftermath? You’ve got a lot to prove. 

Customers are more skeptical and wary than ever before. Pandemic-induced economic and social chaos has impacted the wellbeing and livelihood of people all over the world. Customer optimism and trust is in flux. Doubt is surfacing to the top and customers are fearful in who and what they can rely on. If you can’t prove yourself as irreplaceable and human, you will lose customers and they likely won’t give you a second chance. Empathy matters.

In fact, churned customers are even less likely to return than ever before. When disasters like this take place, the human memory is more likely to grasp onto all assets of what caused them additional stress and effort during already tolling times.

The rules of our world have been rewritten without our consent. People faced and continue to battle physical and emotional tolls such as lost loved ones, loneliness, financial burdens, business closures, worry and strained relationships. Remember that the psychological fallout will be devastating for months or years to come. 48 percent of Americans are cutting back on discretionary spending as they fear uncertainty of when this will end. These emotions will shape consumer behavior for a time that we can’t yet predict. 

Science says that memories with powerful emotional components stick around and are easy to recollect. Don’t let a negative or substandard customer experience become part of your customers’ permanent perspective of your organization. 

Brands that practice empathy can better retain customers in COVID-19 aftermath. Proving yourself as present and reliable, while also delivering in a customer-wary era can make all the difference. 

Set the stage for long-term trust

Consumers are the lifeblood of all businesses. In today’s state, organizations must secure customer’s trust from the get-go and never give them a reason to doubt their services.

Savvy brands ease fears and establish trust using proactive approaches. If you know your customers have a lot of concerns, address them upfront. Trust issues are a common theme in our times. If you can’t deliver on what you promise, you can kiss your customers and future customers goodbye. 

Make yourself useful

Maybe this starts with your employees. Are you continuing to look for ways to make them feel hopeful, helpful and safe? This will reflect positively on your brand. Consumers care about how you treat employees, and employees who are treated well deliver better results for the organization. If possible, provide your customers with acts of kindness whether that be discounts, resources or motivational words. These things will resonate with consumers and employees to keep them loyal. 

Be a source of positivity

Are you adding positivity to the world in some way? Be sure to talk about it! Businesses exist to deliver value to people so showcase the positive ways your organization is impacting customers and employees. There is quite enough gloom and cynicism in the world right now so any amount of optimism can bring light and hope to people who need it.  

Forward-thinking first

We will eventually get to a recovery phase of this pandemic, but empathy must still play a role after the duration. Have you thought about what that will look for your business and your customers? Will you put together an initiative that will be a sort of collective sigh of relief for your consumers? What will the transition look like? Think these things through now so that you can be prepared to set them in action when the time comes.