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Customer-First Focus in a Post-COVID World

An illustration of how complex it can be to include customer centric practices in marketing

Posted on 10/21/2020 at 11:34 AM

Big things were happening at Global Reach.

We had just moved into new offices and had spent a week settling in. The team was excited about their new workspaces and couldn’t wait to show off the new look and feel to our clients. The digital marketing team had even planned to do a virtual tour of the space to share on social media as part of our ongoing various marketing and branding campaigns.

Graphic of a Global Reach Moving truck on an elevator

I left my office on a Friday in March and went home to pack for a week-long family vacation in Colorado. At the time, news was beginning to spread about this nasty new little bug called COVID-19 that had begun to cause some concern as it swept the country. I started to notice the effects of the virus on businesses as the week progressed. Restaurants were seating less people, stores began to run out of paper products (especially toilet paper), and on the 12-hour drive home I realized that the roadside rest stops were closing. It was a surreal time and not exactly the vacation we had planned, but already I knew that when I returned to work on March 15th, it would not be business as usual.

I am fortunate enough to work for a company that was already adaptable enough to allow employees to work from home, so the transition to telecommuting was relatively seamless for most of the Global Reach family. Some of us had already been working a few days per week from our “home offices,” but now, to keep employees and our clients safe, working from home was mandated.

Graphic of a Global Reach employee on a virtual meeting as he works form home

A lot has changed in the 7 months that have passed since that vacation and, in that time, I have only returned to my office twice. I’ve purchased three desks, multiple computer chairs, and lamps to create various at-home working spaces, optimized for virtual meetings and “quiet work zones”.  My children have had to adapt to distance learning, and my dog has become my newest office mate.

What hasn’t changed is my approach to customer interactions. Sure, how we meet has changed from face-to-face meetings to a more virtual format, but the reasons we meet have remained the same. We exist to help our clients use the internet as a catalyst to advance their business beyond their goals. Dare I say, customer relations are stronger than ever as we, as a collective society, have become more empathetic to the various challenges that remote working can present. Indeed, we’re all in this together. Global Reach has always been known as Iowa’s most experienced web development firm, but we have built a reputation among our clients for being a trusted partner who helps make digital strategy easier overall.

"As companies are forced to work from home, what is becoming very important is having an intranet and the ability to conduct conference or video conference calls with clients. Our clients can count on us to provide these services and more, now and into the future." - Iacovos Zachariades, Global Reach President and CEO

We have advised many of our clients that it’s important to put the needs of their customers first, as always, but in new ways. This mentality, now more than ever, must be ever-present at the core of your business strategy. Companies need to find new ways to go beyond reach and connect with their audience while giving them what they want, quickly, frictionlessly, and as smoothly as possible if they hope to thrive in this new business world.

Image showing a professional on a virtual conference call

Key Tips for a Thriving Customer Centric Strategy

There are several things that companies can be doing to prove to their audience that they are concerned with their needs but, if done right, these efforts will be seamless, so clients won’t even notice. For example, rather than holding monthly meetings in person, connecting via virtual meetings. Here are a few tips to streamline your customer experience and show customers that they are at the forefront of your concerns:

1. Go All-In on Mobile and Optimize for Voice Search

If you haven’t already, mobile-first approach to web design is critical. Websites and website content needs to be responsive so that it loads quickly and looks fantastic on any device at any time. Also, we’ve all heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but are you familiar with “VEO” or Voice Engine Optimization? If not, you should be. People are searching using voice commands to virtual assistants and you need to make sure that your website comes up organically as a recommendation when they do! Fortunately for you, we compiled a handy guide to get you started!

2. Give the People What They Want, Fast!

When it comes to search results, people need instant gratification. Using Google Analytics and other tools to understand what people search for and creating content to meet that demand is a great step to getting found and providing value, but getting found first, fast is just as important.

If you don’t give people what they want quickly, they’ll take their business elsewhere. In fact, we recently found that for retail sites, improving your site load time by 0.1s can help you improve conversion rates by 8 percent.” – Google’s Blog

Making sure your content loads quickly can be a real competitive advantage in the new post-COVID information age!

3. Experiences Matter More Than Ever

Using feeds to optimize your Display, Shopping, and Local campaigns is a quick and easy way to showcase products and services in ads. People are visual creatures and value experience very highly. Creating a virtual experience can be a powerful way to convert the curious into full customers. This can be done with virtual tours, scheduling and promoting Live Events on social media, and even simply by providing thumb-stopping imagery with your product listings.

4. Remove the Friction with Powerful, Clear Calls to Action

As smart as we at the top of the food chain are, we still need help figuring out what’s next from time to time. You can provide the most solid, informative, and moving content ever created but without a strong call to action to wrap it all up customers will thank you and show themselves to the virtual door. I

Solid, seamless, ways for customers to act are critical to increasing Click-Through-Rate (CTR) and conversion. In Apps, this can be found in the form of “deep linking”. On your website, consistently providing links to the best point of contact or related product in the same place and style can help teach website visitors what to do to take action.

5. Understand the Latest Tools or Partner with Someone Who Does…

Google recently announced GA4, an upgraded version of Google Analytics property that was formerly known as an App + Web property. This new property works with your existing Universal Analytics property to provide more valuable data collection than ever before so that you can better understand your audience, their needs, behaviors, and what is most likely to drive conversion.

Illustration of psychic hands seeing the future of money in a crystal ball and the caption "Google Predicts the Future"

Google calls GA4 a “new and more intelligent Google Analytics” that will be, in essence, futureproof. The new tool will provide smarter insights to help prepare your business for whatever may be next using advanced machine learning models, monitoring data trends, and attempt to anticipate future actions of customers. The basic idea is to help businesses to have better customer interactions and respond more quickly to evolving expectations.

Seem complicated? It is. Need help? You might.

Partnering for Success

Knowing when to ask for help is a sign of strength. These are tough times as many companies struggle to hold everything together and figure out what their business model needs to look like to survive and thrive going forward. At Global Reach, we understand that each customer is unique so we take the time to get to know their unique goals and aspirations and to fully understand their expectations. We see our client relationships as partnerships, and this is what has continued to set us apart for 25 years.

Want to be ready for what’s next? Let us know how we can help!

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