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Customer Communication in the Age of Coronavirus |  March 18, 2020 (1 comment)

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Merrick, NY—In the last few days, how we exist and operate in the world has changed dramatically and quickly. While change is the only constant, especially at this time, you still have customers. Timely communication with your customers has never been more important.

One effective way to reach out to customers is through email. In the last week, a variety of effective emails from retailers stood out.

Let’s start here from Crogan’s Jewel Box, Charleston, SC (left), and here from London Jewelers, with six locations in and around New York City. The emails themselves are very different but they each work quite well. London Jewelers' email read:

Dear London Jewelers Friends and Family,

We at London Jewelers being a family owned business pride ourselves on our deep personal relationships with our clients and friends. As we all navigate through these uncertain times, we would like to take a moment to reach out to everyone hoping that you are healthy and safe.  We recognize that everyone has been impacted by the current situation.

We are taking COVID-19 very seriously and our number-one priority is creating a safe environment for our associates and customers.  We are taking extra precautions each day and night to keep our stores and merchandise pristine and sanitized.  All of our associates are following the CDC guidelines for protection and prevention.  We are also evolving new ways to express our warm gratitude while respecting the social distancing standards.

We are still open for business and thankful for all who continue to come into the stores.  We are committed to making shopping easier and more comfortable than ever. If you prefer to shop remotely, londonjewelers.com has a full selection of our merchandise to assist you.  Our associates are also available digitally: we can send you photos or chat over the phone to help with your selections. Or take advantage of our London Calling offering, which allows us to come to you with a curated selection of jewelry, diamonds, watches and gift items. We can even make a FaceTime shopping appointment. Just let us know; it’s our pleasure!  

As always, our full team is here for you.

All the best,

The Udell and London Family​

(Editor's note: After London's email was sent, New York City mayor Bill De Blasio ordered nonessential retail closed, which would impact the jeweler's Manhattan location. At press time, The Centurion did not know if retail in any of the municipalities on Long Island had been also ordered closed.)

What makes these emails effective?

  1. They have a caring, sincere message.
  2. They offer options to customers for browsing and shopping that makes it easiest for the customers.
  3. They also offer links to the jeweler’s website for online shopping. 

Likewise, this message from Padis Jewelry, with locations in and around San Francisco is simple, but effective. At press time, the entire Bay Area is on lockdown with San Francisco city under “shelter-in-place” orders.

Industry experts such as Ellen Fruchtman and Jeff Gordon suggest this is the time to ramp up your online presence. (For lots of good advice and tutorials, log onto JewelryEcomm.com.) Many websites at this time do not have a coronavirus message, so reaching out to customers to let them know what your company’s situation is via email is a solid idea. 

Related: How To Survive Coronavirus, Part Two: Business Tips To Keep Sales Going

If you’re not reaching out to your customers to let them know what your situation is then hopefully they will call you if they need something. But more likely, they will assume your business is closed since no word is getting through to them. A Facebook post is one way to spread the word if a mass customer email isn’t your usual route.

Uncertainty is the emotion of the moment for both people and businesses. If your situation changes, customer will understand as their lives are changing quickly as well. If so, just update your situation through email once again. Everyone understands our businesses and lives are in flux right now, but keeping communications open is one way to stay top-of-mind with your customers.

Here, in part, are a few more good examples from a variety of retailers and brands:

From specialty retailer Nordstrom:

On behalf of everyone at Nordstrom, our hearts go out to all those impacted by COVID-19—this includes not only those diagnosed with the virus, but also their friends and family, those whose jobs and schools have been impacted and so many more. Our focus is, as always, on the health and safety of our employees, customers and communities. 
The situation is changing rapidly, and to do our part in slowing the spread of the virus, we have decided to temporarily close all our stores. The two-week closure will go into effect on Tuesday, March 17. This decision includes all our U.S. and Canada stores. We remain open and ready to serve you through our apps and online including digital styling, online order pickup and curbside services at our full-line stores, as we are allowed by local regulations. 
We realize the impact a closure can have on our store employees, and this is not a decision we made lightly. We want to take care of them as best we can and will be providing them with pay and benefits during this two-week period as well as providing additional resources to help them through this challenging time. 
There is no question this is a time of great uncertainty. While we don't know exactly what the future may hold, we feel confident that by sticking together and supporting each other, we'll emerge from this stronger than before. 
Thank you for your loyalty, 
Erik & Pete Nordstrom

From Shinola Detroit:

To our Shinola family,
Hospitality is one of our core values as a brand. We seek to welcome all and make all feel welcome. But as we continue to learn more through monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak, we understand that hospitality in extraordinary times like these means taking care of one another in new ways—even as that means less direct contact with each other.
As such, we have decided to close our retail stores until March 28. We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves—keeping in mind the health and safety of our customers, employees, and community.

Shinola.com is still open for business, and we’ll be available on our social channels and through customer support.
We believe this is the path forward for now. We will keep you updated. In the meantime, we encourage you to keep supporting small businesses, manufacturing, and industry as much as possible. This event can slow us down, but there is nothing that can stop us—especially when we work together.
Best,
Your Friends at Shinola

From denim brand Levi’s:

A letter to our community:
At Levi Strauss & Co. the health and safety of our employees and the communities we serve are our top priority. Because of that, effective immediately all of our Levi’s and Levi’s Outlet stores in the US will be closed through March 27. All store staff will be paid as scheduled through this time.
Levi.com is always open, but we understand shopping for jeans is probably the last thing on your mind right now.  
We’ll get through this together by being kind, keeping healthy and staying connected virtually with friends and loved ones. 
Your friends at Levi’s

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Comments (1):

Kindly read

By Stephanie on Mar 21st, 2020 at 11:50am

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