by Niki Blois November 19, 2020

Last Updated: November 19, 2020

Customers and employees alike may be feeling more isolated and disconnected this winter. Companies can take a few simple steps to connect with employees and customers to increase engagement, foster brand loyalty, and bolster sales.

Employees

Employee engagement directly affects your company’s overall performance. According to Gallup, businesses with highly engaged employees were 22% more profitable and 21% more productive than businesses with disengaged or dissatisfied employees.

With many employees now working from home, it’s more important than ever to consciously connect with employees. Here are two simple ideas to engage with remote workers:

1. Virtual water cooler

In an office setting, employees have ample opportunities for organic interactions with coworkers. Maybe they bump into one another in the breakroom or strike up a conversation while grabbing a coffee. These moments may seem inconsequential on the surface, but they can be essential in helping employees form bonds, exchange new ideas, or simply feel refreshed.

But when employees work remotely, these interactions don’t happen by accident—they have to be intentional. One way to spark these casual interactions is through chat channels like Slack or video tools like Zoom. In addition to formal communication about projects and tasks, teams can create more informal channels where employees can connect on a personal basis. Team leaders can encourage this connection by asking fun questions, sharing interesting articles and asking for thoughts, or prompting employees to share what they’re grateful for. Many teams have implemented weekly or even daily team chats and catch-ups to help remote workers reconnect with the team.

The possibilities are endless, and don’t have to be overly complicated, but even small gestures can help employees feel more connected, appreciated, and restored.

2. Volunteering, fundraising, and charitable giving

The holidays are traditionally a time for giving back. While things may look different this year, charitable giving and volunteering can be a great way to help employees feel involved and connected. For example, your business could start a fundraising challenge, create individual volunteering programs, or find safe ways to volunteer together.

According to Deloitte, employees who frequently participated in company volunteer opportunities were more likely to feel loyal toward their company, rated their corporate culture as very positive, and were more likely to be proud to work for their company. Working together for the good of others will help employees feel like they’re part of a larger purpose and strengthen their connection with their coworkers and the business overall.

Customers

Customers may also be feeling more disconnected this year. Here are three simple ways to reach out and strengthen your relationship this season:

1. Special offers/discounts

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up, there are ample opportunities to offer customers special offers and discounts. 2020 is shaping up to break records for online sales, and your business can get in on the action by providing unbeatable deals to customers.

Check out our comprehensive Cyber Monday guide for more ideas on how to provide offers to customers.

2. Newsletter or blog

Discounts aren’t the only way to maintain customer relationships. You can also boost brand loyalty and trust through a regularly updated newsletter or blog with helpful content that brings value to your customers. These resources will strengthen your relationships with customers by keeping your business top of mind and reaffirming that you’re here to help and assist them—you understand their problems and have the solutions to fix them. The next time your customers experience a problem, they’ll be more likely to seek out the expertise of your business.

3. Be responsive

This year more than ever, it’s essential that your business remains reachable and responsive to customers. Complications with shipping, constantly changing policies, and overall uncertainty can raise a lot of questions for customers, and your business needs to be there with answers. Make it a priority to offer unparalleled customer service, be available to answer customer questions and address concerns, and maintain a presence on relevant social media platforms. By offering a consistent presence for your customers, you’ll increase loyalty and strengthen brand relationships.

Conclusion

The holidays are a time for connection and celebration. While this year might look and feel a little different, companies have the power to form strong bonds with both their employees and customers even from afar, leading to increased engagement, stronger relationships, and a better bottom line.

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