I’d never used DoorDash until the pandemic rolled in. (No, this isn’t an ad for DoorDash.) I’ll talk about them in a moment. For the last 15 years, I’ve shared how to work at a distance. Only now, people are forced to consider that reality.
How Do You Do Business in a “Contactless” World?
As a business advisor, a lot of what I do is suggest ways companies can develop marketplaces around what they sell. I’m probably most well-known for advocating the use of social networks and media tools like YouTube and podcasting and Twitter for further developing ways to interact and sell.
But all this time, it’s been a “gee whiz” and a nice to have.
When a global pandemic comes and forces governments to close businesses (most of them small, by the way), now we have to think about what it means to deliver our business remotely. The concept of “contactless” business is now a “thing.” And it has many implications.
Here are some questions for you to consider:
- If you can’t sell and market face to face, what other ways can you find?
- If people like your face-to-face experience, how can you recreate that online?
- Not everyone loves coupons. How else can you stay top of mind for your buyers?
- If people are watching more YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok while in quarantine, what can you do to reach them?
- Do you have your customers’ email addresses? How will you earn them?
Let’s talk about this. On one hand, I know you’d rather things just go “back to normal.” But what if normal wasn’t exactly killing it for you? And nothing in life ever goes “back to normal.” It moves forward. And it changes. And eventually we accept the “new normal.”
Digital Business and the Digital Channel
If you can’t sell and market face to face, you have to reach people where they are: their inbox and on various social networks. Yes, your buyer is online. My small-town Facebook group is populated by people who are mostly over 50, for instance. B2B people are actual humans and are also online.
Once you accept that everyone is online, the question is: how do we earn their attention?
- People like how-to content. The COVID-19 quarantine data shows that people are filling some of their entertainment time with learning and educational content. Is there an angle there for you?
- People like personable content. Can you shoot video showing what’s going on at your business and how you’re serving people?
- People like to belong. Can you reinforce the identity of the people you serve?
Before this all happened, the prevailing idea of content marketing was that it existed to give people something interesting to consume that somehow related to your product or service. While that’s still true, the adaptation in a post COVID-19 world will focus more on transporting the more personable elements of your real-life presence into an online package.
Understand the New Cadence of Business
Part of your job rolling forward is to connect with people using various digital tools so you can keep customers and prospects feeling “warm” about your offerings in between opportunities to purchase from you.
This is the new cadence. It’s all about staying connected between sales moments. It’s about showing your support for the community you serve. It’s about being more personable and present.
All your functional work to make your business work in a contactless world is still before you. How do you sell? How do you deliver? What happens with the face-to-face parts of the experience? But the way you’ll earn and keep customers involves showing people a human face from a distance using all the digital tools out there.
Oh, and let me tell you about DoorDash. What made the experience great wasn’t the ordering platform (which was really well done) and it wasn’t the variety of restaurants (which is fine, but you kind of expect that), but instead, it was one detail: constant contact.
Every step of the way, I was notified:
- Five Guys has your order.
- Five Guys is making your food.
- Five Guys says your food is ready for pickup.
- Your DoorDash driver is picking up the food.
- Your DoorDash driver is near.
- Your DoorDash driver is here.
That level of connection was better than any other detail of the process. I got what I wanted and every step of the way I was kept in the loop.
What a lot of people want is a connected experience with a company that matches their views and values. What they need is good fast communication all the way through the process.
About Chris Brogan
Chris Brogan is an author, keynote speaker and business advisor who helps companies update organizational interfaces to better support modern humans. The age of factory-sized interactions is over. We all come one to a pack. And it’s time to accept that we are all a little bit dented. Chris advises leadership teams to empower team members by sharing actionable insights on talent development. He also works with marketing and communications teams to more effectively reach people who want to be seen and understood before they buy what a company sells.
Bank of America, N.A. engages with Chris Brogan to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. The third parties within articles are used under license from Chris Brogan. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.
Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation