If taking a “technological hiatus” was on your list of 2020 resolutions, then allow us to give you a one-word recap of the current subject that’s been clogging up everyone’s newsfeeds: Coronavirus.
So what exactly is coronavirus? Also known as COVID-19, coronavirus is a respiratory disease that was originally detected in China, and has since spread internationally.
With headlines including the terms, “outbreak,” “risk,” and “pandemic,” it’s no secret that COVID-19 is causing global concern. And whether you’ve realized it or not, it’s also going to burden your business, if it hasn’t already.
We may not have the proper vaccine to cure coronavirus, but we can help you overcome 6 major ways that it will challenge your organization:
6 Major Ways Coronavirus Will Challenge Your Business (and How to Overcome Them)
Whether you’ve quarantined yourself in your apartment or have decided to dub coronavirus as a nonconcern, the most important part of your company’s development is being threatened right now: Your ability to build and foster professional relationships.
In your effort to nurture these connections, here are 6 solutions that will help you ensure that the illness doesn’t impede your organization’s growth:
Challenge #1: Increased Digital Correspondence
A lack of ability to meet in-person, both externally with prospects and clients and internally amongst coworkers, means more digital correspondence.
As if our inboxes already weren’t clogged enough, given that the illness has now made it more difficult for people to travel, meet up for meals, or even work from the office, we can expect to see a larger influx of emails popping up.
Sure, employees have Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Hangouts as additional methods of communication while WFH, but how do you initiate and maintain relationships with key stakeholders with this unexpected increase in email comms?
Practice Personalization to Stand Out in Their Inboxes
The easiest way to engage someone via email as the pandemic continues to peak? Try altering your email outreach by incorporating personalized messaging in your email comms.
Although this may sound time-consuming, the results are rewarding. To start practicing personalization in your email outreach, here are three tactics that you can include in your playbook:
1.) Include recipients’ names in your subject lines
Even though they’re one of the shortest aspects of your email, when it comes to personalization, subject lines shouldn’t be discounted. Since 35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone, customizing your subject lines can help you elicit responses.
Whether you’re trying to reach out to prospects whom you’ve never contacted before or are attempting to stay in touch with your clients as the crisis unfolds, try adding their name in the subject line in order to catch their attention. In fact, the simple addition of including a recipient’s first name in the subject line of an email can boost your open rates by 29.3%.
2.) Customize your email snippets
An additional way to include personalization in your email communications strategy? Try creating customized email snippets when reaching out to desired or current partners.
Since an email snippet is the first line of text that your recipient will see after the subject line, this is a secondary section of your email that can be used to elicit responses from your contacts.
Not only can custom snippets double your reply rate, but they also provide the prime opportunity for you to mention something that speaks directly to the individuals whom you’re trying to reach.
When crafting email snippets, here are a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Keep them between 40-50 characters long
- Continue where the subject line left off
- Incorporate a call to action
- Test to see how they will be viewed from different email clients and devices
3.) Create segmented lists
As businesses scramble to adjust their strategies and reach key contacts, many will instinctually prioritize efficiency and cost-effectiveness by using mass emailing tactics in order to get their messages across.
Although this may seem like an effective game plan, keep in mind that 57% of email recipients consider a message to be spam if it’s not relevant to their needs, even when they know the sender well.
In this instance, it’s better to play the long game and segment your lists to ensure that your business’ audiences are receiving appropriate messages that are aligned with their pain points.
Challenge #2: Inability to Conduct In-Person Meetings
So you finally secured a few in-person meetings with top prospects. Or, a key client claimed that they were willing to have you and your team into the office to discuss your company’s latest product or offering.
The coronavirus scare hit, and now you’re worried that you’ll lose the opportunity to gain some facetime with important contacts.
With companies increasingly encouraging their employees to avoid the office until the illness becomes contained, how can you make sure that you hold these meetings despite the inability to meet in-person?
Share Expressions of Gratitude to Salvage Meeting Postponements
Sometimes there are certain business discussions that are better conducted in-person versus using video conferencing platforms.
Understandably, you may be disappointed that meetings with your prospects or current customers are being postponed. But that doesn’t mean that they will never happen once the proper cure for the coronavirus is distributed and conversations concerning the illness subside.
Whether delaying these meetings is on their end or yours, a smart way to ensure that you continue building these relationships and leave the door open for a hard reschedule date is by sharing expressions of gratitude.
One simple way to communicate these expressions with your prospects or clients? Try thanking them for their patience as you await finalizing meeting dates. Not only will they appreciate your thank you notes, but your gestures will demonstrate how much you value their partnerships. Plus, you’ll inherently increase their positive sentiments towards you and your business.
The virus has created a stressful scenario that has affected individuals’ personal and professional lives, and the meetings you had blocked off on your calendar are most likely not a top priority for your key contacts. Since gratitude is a stress reliever, sending these expressions to your connections can help ease their panic while allowing you to stay top of mind in the midst of this unsure situation.
Challenge #3: Event and Conference Cancellations
As Q1 draws towards a close, we’ve already seen some pretty big conferences and events get cancelled due to coronavirus. Some heavy hitters include SXSW, Facebook Global Marketing Summit, Adobe Summit, Facebook F8, Shopify Unite, and Google I/O.
Sure, these conference cancellations have created immense financial losses for the companies that were hosting them.
But in addition to cancelling flights and booked hotel rooms, there are also some costs suffered for companies whose primary goal for attending was to generate new business opportunities.
If your company was holding a conference or traveling to appear at one that’s been called off, is it possible to make up for some of the lost revenue?
Overcome the Cancellation by Appreciating Those on the Guest List
Just because the event has been cancelled, doesn’t mean that the relationships that could have been formed or strengthened from it are completely lost.
If your company was hosting its own event and it’s been called off, consider sending expressions of appreciation to those who had RSVPed. Not only will this prime them to look favorably upon your business, but it will also create feelings of reciprocity that will make them more likely to attend future events that your company plans to put on.
Similarly, if your business was preparing to attend a conference that’s no longer going to occur, this shouldn’t mean that these leads have to be lost: Provided that the attendee lists are accessible, your sales team should share expressions of appreciation with these contacts in order to form new relationships.
If they were already conducting outreach prior to the cancellation, they can still retain connectivity with these individuals by appreciating them for their willingness to meet with them at the event before it was called off.
If they hadn’t previously made contact, they can consider sharing how they were looking forward to potentially conversing with them, and would appreciate having the opportunity to connect with them virtually while the coronavirus scare is still prevalent.
Challenge #4: Enforced Employee Remote Work
Wait, you’re not a pro at remote management? Don’t worry — most of us aren’t.
Sure, working from home has become more professionally acceptable. But in general, only 16% of companies exclusively hire remote workers and 18% of people work remotely full-time.
With offices seeing an increase of employees working from home, both employees and managers alike are going to have to adjust to the remote management lifestyle.
Although working from home can reduce stress and work-related expenses, it can also create feelings of isolation and additional distractions that aren’t usually found at the office. To ensure that employees remain engaged, are there any techniques that managers can implement in order to help their reports easily acclimate?
Enhance Employee Recognition During this WFH Period
During this uncertain phase, it’s become increasingly paramount for managers to keep their employees motivated and supported while they start trading standing desks for sweatpants.
The easiest way to make sure that they maintain their continued performance is by practicing employee recognition. Since 81% of employees report that they become motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work, acknowledging your reports will encourage them to continue keeping their pace while working remotely.
Additionally, keep in mind that the saying “people don’t quit their job, they quit their bosses” also holds weight. Recognizing them while they’re away from their desks and more prone to looking into new opportunities will make them feel valued, and will enforce a positive outlook towards you as their manager and your company at large.
Challenge #5: Hiring and Onboarding New Employees
On the other hand, you could be screening prospective employees and having to transition all in-person interviews to virtual platforms. Or, there may be recent hires who just accepted your job offer. Perhaps your organization has enacted a coronavirus crisis work from home policy that would inhibit their onboarding, and you’ve had to postpone their start date.
If they’ve already signed, there’s no doubt that they were excited. Between the new role, new desk, new opportunities, and new coworkers, there’s so much for them to look forward to.
However, beginning a new position or ruminating about it while searching can also be nerve-wracking. What if it isn’t the right fit professionally or culturally? What if they aren’t truly equipped for the role?
If you haven’t heard, new-job anxiety is a thing. And compiled with coronavirus anxiety, a recent or potential new hire’s panic could become proliferated. How do you keep them eager about the new job opportunity?
Leverage EQ to Make Them Feel Special Despite the Uncertainty
If you want to continue encouraging new or prospective hires so that they don’t second-guess their decision to change companies and take on this new opportunity, try putting yourself in their shoes first.
Start by acknowledging the variety of emotions that they’re experiencing, then add a grateful gesture to quell their nervousness. By sending a personalized note that recognizes their concerns paired with a gesture that’s curated towards their personal interests or hobbies, you’ll mitigate any anxiety that they may have about a new role.
Additionally, this form of appreciation will help you stand out in their eyes, and they’ll also feel like part of the team prior to becoming acclimated.
According to Inc., 23% of people who quit a job wind up wishing they hadn’t, so now would be a good time to consider allocating some budget towards practicing appreciation with both new and prospective hires.
Challenge #6: Changes to Typical Business Interactions
Perhaps the biggest game changer caused by coronavirus? The end of the age-old professional handshake.
Yep, you read that right. Globally, people are altering their daily habits both in their personal and professional lives in order to reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus, and to prevent it from spreading.
Thus, the handshake, a gesture that was once incredibly significant, is now being called into question. Due to fear of catching coronavirus, The Guardian suggests that our handshake habits are changing, and mentions that health officials recommend finding alternatives.
Secure a deal? Shake on it. Make a bet? Shake on it. Introduce yourself to someone either personally or professionally? Handshake.
Since this tradition is now being turned on its head, how should you adjust in order to continue strengthening the connections that you’re forming?
Keep the Handshake, but Make it Virtual
Digital mechanisms already maintain a dominant force in our lives. As far as the handshake is concerned, there is a technical tool that you can use in order to keep the relationship-building gesture in play.
In the same way that shaking an individual’s hand enforces the progression of partnerships, saying Thnks similarly solidifies relationship growth.
Since a Thnks is an expression of gratitude that an individual can share with another in order to demonstrate their appreciation for both the recipient and the relationship overall, sharing a Thnks will allow you to maintain the same sentiments behind a handshake with the added bonus of personalizing the gesture for each individual whom you interact with.
While we’re not able to shake hands currently, and since this practice may be eradicated in the near future, consider saying Thnks by sharing a “Thnks A Latte” after a business conversation with a potential partner, or a “Berry Nice To Meet You” treat after being introduced to a new connection.
How Saying Thnks Can Cure Coronavirus Complications
Sure, saying Thnks can’t provide the proper prescription to cure all coronavirus symptoms, but it can certainly help you salvage your organization’s relationships and business growth as the crisis continues to unfold.
And, at the very least, practicing gratitude and sharing grateful gestures can help alleviate some of the pandemic panic.
Saying Thnks can help you and your business advance, rectify, and retain your professional relationships. Within seconds, users can send prospects, clients, and connections gestures of appreciation by searching for an expression, personalizing a note, and sharing it via SMS or email. To learn more about adding gratitude to your business strategy, sign up for a demo!