I don’t have to explain how difficult our collective situation has been. And while the detrimental physical health issues and the economic toll it has taken are bad, what is often overlooked are the mental health effects of being socially isolated. This has brought to the surface the irrefutable fact that people need people.
Relationships Built Face-To-Face
While social media, emails, and even phone calls have helped keep many of us sane over the past months – and have likely assisted you with maintaining business operations – the truth is that nothing can replace face-to-face physical communication. In fact, psychologists and other scientists have been studying this type of communication for years and have discovered that it’s better for emotional health than any form of electronic communication.
Face-to-face interaction causes the firing of mirror neurons, which cause us to mimic body movements, expressions, and gestures. These neurons allow us to understand other people, and their intentions and emotions. It is this ability that helps us build relationships, which are critical to your business. If you’re exclusively using social media or email to communicate with customers, you’re weakening those relationships.
A Face You Can Trust
Other positive points of face-to-face interaction include allowing you to detect nonverbal communication, body language, facial expressions, and even attractiveness and engagement. This type of communication is more effective; as opposed to email and text, it’s easier to clear up misunderstandings and answer questions in real time. In fact, in the business world, one study found that face-to-face requests were 34 times more successful than emails. It also fosters trust by showing that you are listening, taking notes, and repeating back main points.
“face-to-face requests were 34 more successful than emails”
Put Your Best Face Forward
If you are feeling disheartened because of the current social distancing situation, it’s not all gloom and doom. You can gain back some, if not all, of the value of face-to-face communication through video conferencing. Apps like FaceTime and Zoom provide a platform for these interactions. This is not a perfect solution, but it’s a good alternative for those customers who aren’t yet comfortable visiting your store in person.
You can also invite your community to meet with you via a one-on-one private consultation. Not only will this private face-to-face meeting reassure those who are still hesitant about shopping in a crowded store, but it will also help you focus more on their individual needs. Reach out to them through phone calls first. If possible, send a personalized direct mail piece or note, which will get a better response than electronic communications. If neither of these methods of communication are plausible, email or text.
Clearly and concisely explain the precautions you will take to keep them safe. Work with their schedule, not yours, and keep your message short and succinct. Above all, demonstrate empathy about their current situation. Take these steps and you will see a positive increase in sales.