It’s not easy maintaining customer relationships during COVID-19. Social distancing has forced many businesses to shutter, while economic realities have pushed many small businesses toward the brink of extinction. Despite the crisis, however, we’re seeing sparks of creativity and innovation from businesses that refuse to let the economy dictate their economic future.
One of our VPs at MessageWhiz, Ira Cohen, recently shared a story on his Vlog about his dry cleaner. Like many other businesses that rely on walk-in traffic to survive, Katie’s dry cleaning business was in trouble. Rather than sit at home all day wishing things got better, Katie turned to SMS and reached out to all her customers.
Her customers, which included Ira, all received SMS messages asking if they were OK, followed by an offer for pick-up and delivery service. Those customers who responded had their laundry picked up that afternoon, and Katie used SMS to coordinate logistics.
In retrospect, it’s easy to look at the actions Katie took and reduce it to a business’ need to adapt or die, but there was more to the interaction.
SMS messages create a level of intimacy you don’t find on email. Our phones are not only communication devices; for many they are the most personal of our items. We carry it with us wherever we go. It’s privy to our searches, messages to our family and friends, and during this pandemic, our window into the outside world.
SMS messages give you the opportunity to tap into that close relationship between people and their phones, and become a part of the inner circle. What Katie did was remarkable because she started out by asking how her customers were. She knew they were struggling to deal with the fears and loneliness created by the disease.
She helped form an emotional connection, and then she offered a new twist on the relationship. Her messages essentially said I know you can’t come to me right now, but that doesn’t mean I can’t come help you out and service you the same way I have been doing for years.
Things are tough for all service businesses right now, and even as stay-at-home orders are being lifted, now is the time to prepare yourself for a potential second wave. Find a way that you can apply your service to today’s medical reality, and use SMS messaging as a cost-effective tool for inquiring about your customer’s well being, and how you can serve them.
MessageWhiz is supporting small businesses during the pandemic with 30% off messaging rates.