Why we should all reconsider our customer approach during COVID-19 – and I don’t mean the two-meter distance between each other

by Anne Knecht, Engagement Manager

The world around us changed dramatically in the past weeks. Major trade fairs were cancelled. The Dow Jones experienced its most severe crash since the financial crisis in 2008. The DAX closed with a decrease of 12.2% on March 12 – the biggest day loss since 1989 and almost 30% since the beginning of 2020. “Recession” is what we hear a voice chanting in the background. The NBA is on hold – the German Bundesliga too. Italy is cut off; the rest of Europe will follow imminently.

COVID-19 affects our everyday life and our work life and likely will for some time. Here at VIVALDI, we are forced to rethink our way of working, which is heavily driven by personal, engaging workshop formats, strategic discussions at board tables, and creative share outs in our offices. Due to present times, these concepts need to change. We are not able to meet clients and colleagues in person, but deliverables and our commitment remain the same.

Thanks to the advanced technologies we have access to, we decided to transform our typical workshop format – which had been weeks in the making – into a virtual session. Sixteen participants from 5 different European countries appeared on all participants’ computer screens, taking part through their own virtual icons. In a working document, they simultaneously answered questions and filled in digital sticky notes, pinning them on the prepared slides. It worked. We were excited and our client was happy – the best result you can get in the services industry. We increased outcomes and efficiency with everyone in a safe and healthy environment.

This experience really got us thinking. It is not only us here at VIVALDI who must rethink our engagement with clients. It affects any other businesses engaging with clients and customers, be it B2B or B2C.

It is not only the direct engagement with customers that is affected, but also the complete customer journey, from getting customers’ attention, to striving to win their loyalty. And, ideally, to generating value through a platform business model.

However, COVID-19 is not the only and exclusive reason why a digital customer journey and engagement has grown tremendously in significance. Gen Y – the deciders, managers, clients and customers of today and the future, are already actively looking for information and engagement with a company in the digital world. More than 60% of the B2B purchase decisions are made before a company even has the chance of engaging personally with the buyer. The issue here? Many companies have not been addressing this change in customer behavior in recent years, leaving them unprepared for the new generation. This, in turn, leaves them unprepared in the present COVID-19 world.

Here at VIVALDI, we see this challenging time and change in consumer behavior not as current state-of-mind, but more as a general shift business need to prepare for. COVID-19 gives us all an opportunity to rethink collaborating and engaging with clients and consumers. We must be prepared for what is happening around us, in the present and in the future. Together, we unlock opportunities to support strong growth via strong brand experiences and brand engagement along the digital customer journey.

Lessons we’ve learned in the past weeks:

  • Be open-minded and prepared to turn unexpected events into real opportunities for you, your team, and your clients.
    For example, Microsoft now offers its unified communication and collaboration platform Teams for free to new users and, in Germany, new platforms are emerging for community support. Even if this is not going to be a profit booster, it will certainly influence the brand awareness of these companies.
  • Be digital & agile – rethink the way you communicate and engage with your current and future customers, be it in emails, or via video call, platforms, new landing pages, chat bots. Also, reconsider your communication strategy: change from distributing high-level information to providing target messages to high-intent customers. This is also applicable in the hospitality industry, which is heavily affected by current events. There are many opportunities, and we can help you in assessing them.
  • Define the support you need – are your goods and deliveries from foreign countries being delayed due to COVID-19? Engage in active communications with your customers. Go into joint product development or pain point assessment. Invest your resources in market research, take a closer look at your target groups, and assess their needs and demands. These tactics will help accelerate growth after the crisis, simply because you did not stop, but continued despite difficult circumstances.

So, if you feel that some of the points mentioned are relevant for you, click here and let us know. We are ready to assess your, and your company’s, capabilities to unlock opportunities along the customer journey.

We will also continue to talk more about what brand strategy can do to get you through these times. We’d like to stay in touch with you. Please follow us on Instagram or LinkedIn, or subscribe to our Newsletter. Or, give us a call at +1 212 965 0900 for the US and +49 89 54 80 04 50 for Germany/ Europe.

Der Experte/ Die Expertin

Expert Image
Anne Knecht

Engagement Manager

Anne Knecht is an Engagement Manager based in Vivaldi’s Munich office. She is deeply passionate about market-relevant topics across all industries and is fascinated by the ability of brands to immerse themselves into our daily lives. She’s intrigued by the tremendous influence brands have on the human behavior – especially her own.