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How to Maintain Agribusiness Customer Confidence During COVID-19

SEP. 03, 2020

High-value news and information grow in importance during anxious times

A disruption of the scale and scope of the COVID-19 pandemic causes just about everyone to seek assurance. The virus caused people around the world to first learn more about how they might be affected, then determine the risk to their individual health and safety and that of their family and loved ones.

Agriculture was not immune to these trends. In fact, given the spotlight COVID-19 shined on the industry and its potential vulnerabilities, questions abounded about the industry’s ability to outlast the pandemic by adjusting to more than just sustaining their own health and safety, but the productivity necessary to keeping the food supply chain intact.

Farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses are seeking information as their operations are impacted or as they evolve as a result of COVID-19. As an agent who sells farm and ranch insurance, you play a big role in supporting much-needed industry confidence to outlast the COVID-19 challenge.

1. A Consumer-focused response means a lot in a tough time

Consumers looked to trusted companies and brands for information on how their personal and professional lives might be affected by COVID-19. These same consumers, who sought this assurance, also wanted to see a reflection and fulfillment of shared ethics and ideas they find important.

A recent Edelman studyshows the importance of how a business positions itself to its customers during something like the COVID-19 pandemic. When surveyed, 81% of consumers said trusting a brand to do what’s right, during a massive disruption like this, is a  “make or break” variable in future purchase decisions. In other words, if a company or brand has a proactive, understanding and customer-focused response to something like a global pandemic, consumer confidence grows. On the other hand, failing to do so can cost a brand customer loyalty and, in the long run, revenue.

2. Provide high-value information

According to the Edelman survey, 84% of consumers said they have expectations or hopes that their trusted brands will provide high-value news and information about more than COVID-19. They want to know how these brands are working to ensure uninterrupted product and service availability to them. The survey also revealed 85% of consumers sought practical educational content in addition to basic news about the virus.

These results show that in a time of massive angst like the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers looked to their trusted brand partners — like you, their agent — to provide confidence and practical information about how to maintain personal health and safety for themselves and their loved ones.

3. Share what matters to your customers

What are some ways you can do that for your customers right now? Nationwide has a collection of resources to help farmers and ranchers manage their operations and ensure health and safety throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

4. Determine concerns of agribusiness companies

What are your customers’ greatest concerns? How are their farm businesses affected by the pandemic? Asking questions like these can help you provide the news and information that will be most resonant and instill confidence in your customers.

The Nationwide Farm & Agribusiness Insurance Resources page provides information such as:

Once you’ve identified information above that covers your customer’s leading concerns, find a way to demonstrate this attention to their needs by sharing the information with them via social media, email or however you can best connect with your clients. Then put a date on your calendar to check-in with them at a later date.

5. Find the right ways to connect

If you and your customers are avid social media users and are looking for social media content to reach your customers and prospects, consider joining Nationwide’s Agent Social Media Program, powered by Hearsay Social. This program is designed to streamline and organize your agency’s social media interactions in a single dashboard. You will also find a full content library to help you promote your brand with pre-approved social posts. If you don’t have access to Hearsay, contact the Nationwide Social Selling team at social@nationwide.com.

Building and maintaining consumer confidence means doing more than offering a quality product or service. It all starts with identifying what your customers need, then using available resources to meet those needs. As an insurance agent, your customers look to you for peace-of-mind. Help them find it through the quality information you provide.

Sources

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    Special Report: Brand Trust and the Coronavirus Pandemic; Edelman Trust Barometer 2020