2018 kicked off with record breaking cold, snow, and wind … and you probably have quite a few tales to tell! While many dealers skated through without a stumble, others found themselves slipping and falling behind. The early January snowstorms presented challenges and opportunities for smart marketers – but the time to strike is when the customers are hot (under the collar).
First, take stock.
Despite your best efforts, was your company unable to keep up with demand? All the long hours you put in don’t matter to the customers who ran out of fuel. Turn the situation around by taking action and addressing the snowman in the room. Send a letter to those customers you let down. Remind them about the record-breaking temperatures and your impeccable history of service, but also apologize for the delays and offer something to “make it up to them.” We’ve seen companies offer a free service plan or account credit, but regardless of the gift, the important point is to acknowledge the customer’s distress and promise to do better next time.
How’d your reputation hold up?
Social media and review sites like Yelp were instant barometers of your company’s storm response. Happy customers may have posted praise for your professionalism and expertise, but for sure the unhappy customers posted their complaints. You need to reply to the good, the bad and the absolutely ugly. For the negative comments, check with your team, find out what happened, and then briefly reply online and follow up with a phone call. Very often your direct action can lead to that customer updating a 1-star slam with a 5-star rave.
Now, pick up their pieces.
The storms shone a harsh light on some dark practices. There were companies that promised rock-bottom delivery prices, and then couldn’t deliver and wouldn’t answer the phone. Others used the emergency situation to raise prices so high they are now accused of price gouging. And as COD companies went MIA, you picked up their slack – now pick up their customers for good. Mix up traditional marketing (print ads, radio, postcards and direct mail) with new (social media marketing, email blasts, digital advertising) to reach the greatest number of potential customers and position your company’s dependability, honesty and expertise as the answers they need.
PriMedia is ready to help you make the most of the opportunities available, with ready-to-use and custom solutions for your cold weather response strategy. Contact us today to learn more.