Creating customer loyalty in the COVID-19 crisis

By: Alice Liang
8 min. read Last updated: August 26th, 2020

In times of crisis, it’s easy to give into our natural human instincts and react with panic and fear, as we’ve seen in the reports of a few greedy toilet paper hoarders.

Thankfully, many businesses and organizations are demonstrating their better natures by putting their customers’ and employees’ needs first. These companies know the importance of understanding and fulfilling their customers’ emotional needs during difficult times, and these are the companies that will emerge as winners with increased customer and employee loyalty.

In fact, times of crisis are some of the most memorable situations to create a lasting impression. How you treat your customers in these times will have a lasting effect on your brand. For more on that topic, you can watch our latest webinar where we showed the Behavioral Science methods you can use to resonate with your customers and drive long-term growth in a crisis.

As inspiration for your company’s customer responses, here are a few examples of how businesses around the world are putting their customers and employees first.

Taking care of employees

Patagonia has temporarily closed all their stores, offices and other operations in the United States, Argentina, Chile, Japan and across Europe. All Patagonia employees will continue to receive their regular pay during these closures.

Lululemon closes all stores in North America and Europe for a week and will continue to pay their employees.

Microsoft was one of the first companies to make a commitment to paying its campus staff during the work-from-home period, even if they don’t need to work.

Amazon has taken several actions to help customers, communities and employees affected by COVID-19, including establishing an Amazon Relief Fund, with a $25 million initial contribution. This fund will support their independent delivery service partners, their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees under financial distress during this challenging time. They will offer all of these groups the ability to apply for grants approximately equal to up to two weeks of pay if diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine.

Making home life easier

LinkedIn Learning opens up their “Working From Home” content for free.

Microsoft is providing free Teams subscriptions for six months to keep teams up and running.

Comcast is offering a free ‘Internet Essentials’ package for low-income customers for 60 days.

Rogers is waiving long-distance and roaming fees and data caps on home internet. They are also maintaining service for people who cannot afford to pay.

Uber Eats is supporting local businesses by waiving the delivery fee for more than 100,000 independent restaurants across US & Canada.

Cisco Webex expands capabilities of their free version to include unlimited usage, up to 100 participants, and toll free dial-in. They are also providing free 90-day licenses to businesses who are not Webex customers.

Google is giving away enterprise conferencing tools to help those who have to work remotely during this time.

Adobe is giving students free access to Creative Cloud. Their web-based PDF services are also free through May 31, 2020.

Zoom has a dedicated page of free resources, tutorials, and webinars for those learning and working from home.

Scholastic creates a free, open-access digital hub so students can continue to learn while schools are disrupted.

Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers donated $100,000 USD to arena staff after the NHL cancelled the season, kicking off a storm of other players and teams doing similar things.

Through their Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and wife Ayesha Curry are helping to provide 1 million meals to Oakland students who can’t attend school due to COVID-19 closures.

NOVUS is removing data caps and making many extra TV channels free.

Keeping people informed and entertained

The New York Times is providing free access to COVID-19 news.

The Financial Post had a live blog to provide COVID-19 updates from the markets, economy, and Canadian business.

Shopify has compiled a list of what each government is doing and the different relief programs available in response to COVID-19.

Salesforce is offering a COVID-19 Response Package that provides free access to technology for emergency response teams, call centers, and care management teams.

Tableau has developed a free data resource hub to help organizations see and understand coronavirus data in near real-time, using case data compiled by Johns Hopkins University as well as data from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Giving people a distraction

Headspace is offering all US healthcare professionals who work in public health settings free access to Headspace Plus through 2020.

Korg is helping in a musical way. They have decided to make their Kaossilator app for iOS and Android free of charge for a limited time.

The Met Opera is streaming a new opera for free each day.

A number of virtual concerts to watch in the comfort of your own home.

Enforcing behavioral changes

Dr. BJ Fogg, social scientist and founder of Stanford University’s Behaviour Design Lab, is offering ongoing sessions for using Tiny Habits for Coronavirus Challenges.

Innovations to help our world

LVMH — the luxury conglomerate that owns brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Givenchy, and many more —converts their perfume factories to hand sanitizer factories.

LVMH also recently announced that they will be supplying approximately 40 million masks in France in the coming weeks.

Salesforce is donating $1 million to the UCSF coronavirus response fund and another $500,000 to the CDD emergency response fund. It’s also matching employee donations.

Facebook launched a matching fund to encourage people to donate money to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The company has committed a total of $20 million to fight the outbreak.

Apple is donating $15 million to help treat coronavirus patients and ease the economic impact of the pandemic. It’s also matching employee coronavirus donations two-to-one.

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma is donating 500,000 coronavirus testing kits and one million protective face masks to the United States. The Chinese billionaire is also donating medical supplies to countries throughout Asia, Europe, and South America.

What other great examples have you seen?

Add them to the comments below!

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