When we’re feeling good and things are going well it’s easy to make lofty goals. We want to make all the plans, get involved in all the exciting developments, and be the best that we can possibly be. But when life throws an unexpected wrench at our future selves? Well, not everyone is naturally gifted with wrench-dodging abilities. Our energy gets easily sucked away by the stress of responding to new, unfortunate turns of events, and previous plans get shamefully brushed into a cobwebbed corner of our lives. Those who look up to us can quickly lose their faith in our leadership as we withdraw without a plan and without a word.

The same thing applies to brands and businesses of all sizes – while going in and out of lockdown, uncertain what our working circumstances will be, it can become increasingly difficult to offer a consistent level of customer service. Thankfully the digital age now allows almost any business to reach customers no matter where they are, meaning we can continue to provide service through creative pivoting and clear communication. Explainer videos are an invaluable tool for reaching customers in these ways, and can be just what is needed to maintain (and even increase) your quality of service in uncertain times.

Resiliency

1) Use video to train customers in using new online resources

In a time where many brands are being obliged to move their services online, it’s inevitable that some clients won’t be ready for a smooth transition to the online version of their favourite brands. Some industries are used to offering products serving only face-to-face customers, while others have a difficult set up process or tight timelines attached to the use of their products. Others serve customer bases that are used to in-person customer service and may feel intimidated by the need to dive into the online world to continue using their favoured brands. But in uncertain times, whether a global pandemic or simply a shifting marketplace, it can be necessary to make new changes that your clients may not initially feel they’re prepared for.

Explainer videos are ideal for helping to alleviate any anxiety that comes with new changes in the way your brand operates. Case in point: The Critter Depot, who specialise in selling live insects and worms online, were facing a difficult and impatient customer base when the pandemic forced many customers to shop online for the first time rather than their local pet store. In response to the growing frustration of their customers, The Critter Depot launched a new ‘Shipping FAQ’ section on their website, which houses a series of unboxing videos which explain what to expect when receiving [insert insect of choice] in the mail (https://www.thecritterdepot.com/pages/shipping-faqs). The videos outline preparation, unpacking, and care of the insects, which helped reduce customer hostility surrounding the new online procedures (https://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherelliott/2021/01/28/this-is-how-the-pandemic-improved-customer-service/?sh=2d5a5f8848dd.

2) Use video to provide experiential services when face-to-face isn’t possible

The decrease in face-to-face service during the peak of the pandemic left many industries scrambling to adjust to a physically distanced world. But encouragingly, a number of businesses have shone through by developing very creative ways to pivot into online service by adding video options. 

Dating app Bumble, which previously only offered text chat as a way to facilitate real life meet ups, introduced video chat and voice call features along with a ‘virtual date badge’ to help make dating a safer experience. And while most restaurants were forced to provide takeout options if they hadn’t previously, some took things further by providing ‘make at home’ options and thereby shifting the consumer service into a branded experience. Savvy restaurants could then double down on the branding side by adding video tutorial links into the packaging (QR codes are making a pandemic comeback within the restaurant industry), showing customers how to best prepare their meals. Customers following along at home gain not only a meal, but also the hands on experience of learning how to make the meal with the guidance of their favourite restaurants.

3) Use video to make announcements on upcoming changes or sudden developments

Quickly responding to new developments with your brand is key to maintaining customer trust. Whether these are developments you’ve planned yourself or whether they’re due to unexpected external events, it’s vital to address the new changes and provide a clear path of direction for your customers moving forward.

This message can take a few different forms. Depending on the changes, a simple explainer video explaining how a new company direction will (or won’t) affect the customer could be the best method. Other times direct action is needed from existing customers to adapt to the changes, while maintaining the brand’s sense of leadership in the field. Explainer videos are structured with a call to action in mind, so use this to your advantage in prompting any action needed from the viewer regarding the changes.

4) Use video to express compassion and understanding for others in uncertain times

This extends to customers, staff, and other businesses who are affected by difficulties in hard times. A well-crafted, intentional video message tends to hit differently than a short text message, which can come off as insincere. If you and your brand are truly invested in the wellbeing of those around you, don’t be afraid to speak out and express it – but be prepared to put your money where your mouth is. Consumers are savvier than ever when it comes to bandwagoning of hot social issues.

5) Use video to express your plans for the future

If the uncertain times you’re facing are indefinite, use explainer videos to reimagine a post-problem world for your followers. For many brands right now, this means pivoting to provide direction to look forward to in a post-pandemic world. For others, it’s providing clear leadership strategies for potential economic downturns. If global uncertainty is halting part of your business, impart your values to your customers now, so they have somewhere to turn to when you are able to function again. 

Animation is a quick, clear, and strong way of getting your message across because it’s able to visually depict a vision for the future which may not necessarily exist yet. Using animated explainers we can relay in simple steps how customers will get from their present state to the future, and how your brand plays a key role in that future.

Written by Maree Railton.