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The coronavirus pandemic has caused swift, destructive economic effects – across almost every sector of the economy. As companies scramble to communicate to their customers and stay solvent during this crisis, one of the most important steps they can take is to carefully listen to their customers – and then respond with appropriate messaging.

As we’ve all seen, the spread of COVID-19 is unfolding at an exponential rate, wreaking havoc on the markets as it sweeps through. Consumer behavior and concerns change daily – not weekly. It’s for this reason that it’s absolutely paramount to establish a line to your customers and adapt your communications based on their concerns, questions, and behavior.

How to understand what your customers are saying during COVID-19: Find a research firm with experience

COVID-19 communications is crisis communications – don’t think of it as anything less than that. The government’s $2 trillion economic stimulus package is indicative of just how grave of a state the U.S. economy finds itself in. Companies that are the hardest hit, such as those in the hospitality and airline sectors, are in a tailspin as they try to prevent massive layoffs and reassure customers. Therefore, getting a pulse – daily – of what customers are saying, is critical.

One of the best ways to understand what customers are saying and asking is by setting up an online qualitative research panel. An online research panel is a group of target customers who commit to being on the panel for a length of time (InterQ’s current panels are set up for 1-2 months). The research firm poses short questions to the panel, hosts live online text chats, and has a forum where panel members can interact and pose questions to the group. This creates a critical lifeline of communications, allowing companies to test messaging, understand how users respond to current communications, and learn what they should be saying to speak relevantly.

It’s imperative to find a research company that has the capability to create and host the panel – and ask questions objectively. Creating a panel requires recruiting the appropriate panelists; setting up the panel platform; hosting and moderating questions; and providing topline reports at the end of each week.

How a panel can help companies get the critical information they need during COVID-19

InterQ has been partnering with one of the world’s largest airlines during COVID-19 to listen to their customers so they can communicate appropriately. The airline industry is one of those most-affected right now, so our partnership has been critical in giving them much-needed access to their valuable passengers as they learn what people’s concerns are and what steps they need to take to help people feel safe flying.

The beauty of an online panel is that it is all online – participants have set response times to log in, and they can do it from the comfort of their homes. Since most Americans are stuck at home right now, it’s a safe and effective way to still speak to customers. Furthermore, the panelists appreciate being able to contribute to such a pertinent conversation (and they are compensated).

Listen to your customers during COVID-19: Their voice is more critical than ever

COVID-19 is a scary time, from a health perspective and because of the economic uncertainty it is causing. Your customers want their voice to be heard – now, more than ever. If you work in a sector deeply affected by this crisis, consider setting up a customer panel so you can get consistent Voice of the Customer feedback.

Interested in setting up an online panel? Request a proposal today >