We can all agree, 2020 has been an incredibly crazy year. One that none of us anticipated or were prepared for. It has thrown us into a new world, one that we didn't choose or particularly like, and we were expected to adjust, survive and thrive.
However, in and amongst all the uncertainty and chaos, there has been a lot of learning and discovery too.
The way we go about business today is very different to the way we went about business 10 months ago - and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The relationships we have with our clients today, have grown from the relationship we had last year. The conversations are different, our understanding of their fears and limitations is deeper than it was before, and all of this is only because we were thrown into the unknown, vulnerable and exposed, and had to lean on each other for support to survive.
No matter how messed up things get, there are always lessons to be learnt to better prepare for tomorrow. So, what have we learnt - when it comes to client service - from 2020?
1. Your clients have fears too
No business is indestructible. No matter how much planning and preparation you do, there will always be some risks you just don’t see. Having the right partner by your side can help your brand weather the storm.
During a crisis, support is more important than campaigns, sales, leads or reports. A good partnership is more than all of that. A good partnership means your client turns to you for advice and support, more than simply for services. It’s the difference between a supplier and a partner.
Brent Haumann, managing director, Striata Africa, discusses what separated the great communicators from the average and poor ones...
Brent Haumann 7 Oct 2020
2. Honesty is always the best policy
While many brands saw budget cuts or pauses, as uncertainty loomed, the instinct of many was to sell and sell hard. In a state of chaos and uncertainty, brands need to give their clients reasons to believe and bring about a sense of calm in the storm.
It is the duty of a good marketing partner to advise their client to communicate empathically and genuinely with their clients during uncertain times. To put sales on hold and show solidarity and unity. A small act of kindness in a time of crisis can make the biggest difference to how your brand is perceived, beyond the goods it offers and after the crisis has passed.
3. Be agile and adjustable
When the going gets tough, the tough get creative! During lockdown, we’ve seen some of the most creative, relevant and funny campaigns launched by big brands. These relatable campaigns have given us a sense of unity and understanding of what the world is going through.
The same approach should apply to your brand, beyond Covid-19 and lockdown, because nothing in life is certain, besides death and taxes. Brands need to be flexible and open to change. The way we market for tomorrow has changed!
Reassess your campaigns, change your messaging, change the channel of communicating, and most importantly… be relevant! Show your audience that you genuinely understand what they are going through and give them a brand to believe in.
4. This too shall pass
Believe it or not, this will eventually come to an end. And, if done right, we’ll come out of this stronger, wiser, humbler and more grateful than when we went into it. Take the lessons and build from them. Build a brand that is relevant and aligned to its audience, with a partner that understands your needs and the needs of your audience – and can deliver on both. The world will never be the same again and that’s ok, because the same is boring!