COVID-19 Chronicles – Innovative ways to keep employees and customer communities engaged online
The year 2020 will forever be marked as the year of mammoth change. The world is grappling with the most unexpected and unprecedented pandemic that has shaken our way of living, made us uncomfortable, and forced us to change our very way of daily life.
However, there have also been positive outcomes. There is a new realisation towards the importance of time, resources, and the importance of showing great compassion for our fellow beings.
With India going through at least five phases of a nationwide lockdown, both employees and businesses have been affected and customer engagement practices such as exhibitions, events, and store promotions are still a distant dream.
Even as conventional channels of promotion saw a tectonic shift, online and digital media showed their mettle and innovation in ensuring the dialogue and engagement does not stop.
Making employees the priority
In this crucial period, keeping your employees and customers happy and connected is imperative. Many changes have occurred, and ‘work from home’ has become the new norm with technology coming to our aid once again.
We need to however adapt to this medium and make that extra effort to connect proactively with our employees, more often. Additionally, with employees striving hard to do their best in the current scenario, it is good to show appreciation and gratitude acknowledging their efforts – big and small.
Encourage and engage
The current situation has led many to feel anxious, uncertain or even alone as many people are living away from families and loved ones. Setting a day aside in a week for recreation has proved to be effective and builds team spirit.
A virtual game, team lunch or dinner, a joint team workout session, holding webinars, and even enjoying live music will help them unwind and get motivated. This also creates greater solidarity and serves as an opportunity to get to know each other better.
It is the time to build long-term goodwill and in turn, give each other strength that you as a collective can overcome challenges as a team.
Motivate to learn new skills
‘Work from home’ has given everyone an opportunity to declutter and focus which, in turn, gives them that little extra time to learn new skills. Companies should make the most of this opportunity to upskill their employees to have an overall positive impact on the business/organisation.
They should also encourage their employees to pursue personal hobbies to give an overall sense of positivity and purpose.
Give your employees some ‘time off’
To maintain productivity, allow your employees some ‘me’ time to reflect and rejuvenate. ‘Work from home’ comes with its own challenges, and many employees are multi-tasking, and looking after the household chores too among other things.
Something we all must address is also that working from home does not mean your employees need to work round the clock, or are not entitled to their leaves. Balancing work with requisite time off will help them focus and come back with a fresh perspective, leading them to be more productive.
Keeping the customer engaged and happy
Customers are the core for any consumer-based business and in times of COVID-19, keeping the brand narrative going is important.
The situation may not temporarily allow a brand to have a share of wallet, but if we can retain a share of mind – it will work towards ensuring long-term advocacy. This can be done by creating digital communities where they can learn something new and fun or throw a fun challenge at them so that they can participate.
Selling products is secondary, engaging the customer is key. Today, the audience does not just want to watch or like – they want to comment or participate and feel like they are a part of something good, even if virtually.
Letting the customer experience the brand in different ways is important even if they cannot experience the product. The communications and the community you create during this time is the relationships you will take to the future.
As a brand, collaboration with like-minded partners for the #StayFitIndiaChallenge to engage netizens in asking national athletes for tips on fitness, nutrition, and their own workout regime. Live webinars with athletes across the world have made us value the power of communication and seeing audiences get a chance to interact the way they do now.
When we are in this ‘together’, we can create a brighter future from the lessons we have learnt and will come out of this crisis stronger and smarter.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)