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10 ways to connect with customers and prospects in the time of COVID

Staying connected with customers and prospects is essential, especially in times of uncertainty. Get creative as we navigate the new business environment.

We are navigating a new business environment with employees working from home and business restrictions in place as a result of social distancing. Relationships are at the heart of community banking, but it may be difficult to connect with customers and foster relationships with prospects in times like this. Here are a few ideas to consider as you continue to navigate the evolving environment:

10 ways to connect in the time of COVID

  1. Increase your social media presence: Whether you have been active in the past or not, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook offer an avenue to connect and share articles or resources with your customers. Challenge yourself to try something different.
  2. Host a lunch and learn: Consider sending a gift card to participants or gather socially distanced around lunchtime. This is a good time to introduce new products, re-introduce an underutilized product or share technology changes your customers need help with.
  3. Send something by mail: In a world so reliant on technology, who doesn’t like receiving a good piece of mail? If you see something your customer or prospect has accomplished and want to congratulate them or have another message to pass along, send them a card. Don’t underestimate the power of the pen.
  4. Pick up the phone: Whether it’s to say you are thinking about them or checking in, the personal connection goes a long way. There’s no agenda required for a phone conversation.
  5. Buy goods and services from your customer’s or prospect’s business: As the holidays approach, create gift boxes utilizing goods from your customers and prospects. Consider sending a gift box as a thank you for being a great customer or a survival kit in this time of need.
  6. A different kind of happy hour: Host an outside happy hour at the local country club, your customer’s place of business, your business or a place where you can maintain social distancing.
  7. Invite your customer to a webinar: This might be one you are hosting or from a third party that you think your customer or prospect would find valuable.
  8. Focus on the community: Community banks are the backbone of communities. Keep an eye out for other ways to support needs and add positivity in the community. Host an aid drive for local non-profits, organize support for families in need or organize a coat drive.
  9. Do the little things: Ask how you can help, show empathy and actively listen. Kindness goes a long way.
  10. Embrace web meetings: Consider a Zoom or Teams meeting when in-person is not an option. Become familiar with the capabilities of virtual meetings, including features such as sharing screens and using chats. Find fun ways, like a virtual coffee break, to interact with customers and prospects.

In conclusion

Staying connected with your customers and prospects is essential, especially in times of stress or uncertainty. Character counts and shows in these times – people don’t often forget how they were helped in times of need. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to make a difference and enhance your business relationships. This not only may help your business, but also can make the lives of others in your community better.

To learn more, contact Mark Schmelzle using the information below.

Mark Schmelzle

Senior Vice President
Assurance Services
Financial Services Industry Team Leader

Mark Schmelzle leads the firm’s financial services industry team. His practice focuses primarily on financial institutions, manufacturing/wholesale/distribution entities and private equity groups.

In the financial services and manufacturing industries, his experience includes financial statement audits, fraud investigations and other types of attest services.

In the private equity area, Mark provides a wide range of merger and acquisition services for private equity groups and their portfolio companies, including due diligence, cash flow analysis, quality of earnings review, and potential cost-savings analysis.

Schmelzle is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants and Young Bank Officers of Kansas. He is an alumnus of Leadership Wichita and was named one of the Wichita Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” young leaders in the community. He also serves in leadership positions for community organizations including Youth Entrepreneurs and the Wichita Aero Club.

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