How to engage clients and customers in the time of COVID-19

These are unprecedented times. Not only are we having to adapt to working-from-home, the way we do business has changed too. No longer can we arrange a meeting at our client’s office, meet over lunch, or organise a networking session to gather new leads.  

Especially within the Asian context, Guanxi, the Chinese networking custom has always been an integral part of how business is conducted through face-to-face relationship building, forming trust before any deal can be made.

Even as we are now forced to host virtual meetings, the other party may not be comfortable in this new way of impersonal communication. When so much of what we’ve been taught about relationship building is dependent on being socially engaged, how can we still continue to maintain being personal, virtually?

Here are 5 ideas to help you maintain Guanxi in the time of the Coronavirus: 

1. Go Old School

Image Credit: Poptsie Paper Co

While the default mode of communication is now video calls and virtual meetings, let’s not forget about the good old postal service (that is still fully functioning). When was the last time you received a handwritten note? There’s something special about receiving a personally written notecard that says ‘I’ve invested the time and am sincere in reaching out to connect with you’. You’ll be surprised at the rate of replies you will get from turning a simple email to a handwritten letter. 

Poptsie Paper Co offers a collection of beautiful hand painted botanical cards for sale and customised stationary for every need. 

2. Sharing and Spreading Joy

Image Credit: Fossa Chocolate

A great way to show care and appreciation for your most valued clients and customers is to say it with a thoughtful gift. With everyone staying at home, an unexpected delivery makes for a pleasant surprise. Also, it’s a great excuse to restart a discussion or deal that may have gone idle for a while. Thankfully, many local makers and vendors are offering specially curated gift and care packages that can be delivered with no fuss. How about sending some artisanal chocolate bars from Fossa Chocolates, a unique tea set from 1872 Clipper Tea, some delicious organic and natural wines from Brown Bag Wines or an Urban Farming Kit from SuperFarmers

3. Host a Digital Event

Turn your physical events digital. Technology has enabled businesses to still conduct live events in virtual settings from workshops and panel discussions to networking sessions. A variety of platforms like ZoomCisco Webex or Microsoft Teams have made it easy to transition your event to a digital environment. Plan and produce successful new experiences for your customers. Even networking can be done virtually today. Hosting a Cocktail Mixer can be a great way to loosen up what are usually dreaded functions. Send out Zoom invitations to all your guests and accompany it with fun and casual ice-breaker questions. To elevate the experience, order ready-to-drink bottled cocktails and have them delivered to all your guests from local bars (check out our top selections here). This shared and common experience will be a great talking point as you all network and have a conversation together. 

4. Plan A Virtual Business Meal

Yes, you still can expense it! It may seem like an awkward idea at first but it’s easy to plan and host a lunch meeting virtually. Food always brings people together and it’s an alternative way to lighten up the mood and inject some fun into your daily zoom meetings. It’s also a great opportunity to support the local restaurant industry that is facing such a difficult time at the moment #savefnbsg. Pick a restaurant (we’ve complied a great list here), share the menu with your guests in advance so you can pre-order and have it delivered to their addresses. The rest is up to you as you host your group and have a shared dining experience virtually!

5. Get Creative and Fun

Image Credit: City Brew Tours

These unprecedented times call for radical ideas. Think outside the box, maybe even temporarily pivot your business focus on how to engage your customers. If you’ve got some great content, think about how you can bring that online to share your expertise. Offering free online content is a great idea especially when everybody is staying at home and glued to their devices.  There are many examples of how other businesses have done this successfully from offering online lessons, webinars or screenings. For example, City Brew Tours in the United States pivoted to offer Virtual Experiences called “Beer Events at Home” including a Live Home Brew Experience. Also think about ways in which you can give back to the community. Many businesses are providing free meals, products and help to our frontline workers and vulnerable communities hit hardest by the pandemic in one way or another. This will help give added meaning to the products and services you offer and serve those in need too.

Elevate your Virtual Events to an Experience. With TAB, Find and Book Unique Private Virtual Event Workshops and Catered Experiences for Virtual Hangouts and Meetings to engage your teams and clients.

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