The COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe has undeniably ushered in an era of doom and gloom resulting from what many are calling a looming economic crisis. Whether you’re an individual, a small family business, or a conglomerate, these are trying times. That is why now more than ever, it’s important for businesses regardless of size, background, or industry to take the time to adjust their priorities and re-dedicate themselves to a strong focus on customer-centricity.
Focus less on acquisition and more on long-term retention
Let’s face it—your gut reaction is most likely telling you that focusing on customer acquisition is the best way to combat that unnerving sense of worry you’re feeling deep down due to the economic landscape. However, for most of us (unless you provide a product that helps with the pandemic), there is very little new business to win out there. So, reduce the customer acquisition talks, and focus on cultivating long-term relationships and increasing lifetime values instead. After all, it’s much easier to keep an existing customer than it is to bring a new one on board.
Research shows that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. Studies have also found that by increasing your customer retention rates by just five per cent, you can end up with as much as a 25 per cent to 95 per cent increase in profits. Not only is it good for business, but it’s the right thing to do. Trust us when we say your customers will take notice and appreciate this, which will benefit your business in the long-term.
Offer stability and reassurance
One of the most important things you can provide your customers with during these trying times is reassurance. Show them that you understand what they are going through, and that you are here to help them ride things out through the storm. Your customers are feeling anxious, uncertain, and uneasy, and the last thing they need is for you to mirror these concerns right back at them. They need to feel safe and assured. Show them that you are dedicated to providing them with the same level of service they are used to, and that they can count on you during tough times. Give them ideas on how they can use your products to do things they didn’t know possible. Enable them, offer training, ramp up their knowledge so that they get the full value of what they have. This will help you to forge stronger relationships with your customer base and, as a result, instills a deeper sense of trust and dedication to you and your company.
Take inventory of your processes and priorities
Again, we want to emphasise that now is not the time for panic. It’s a time for you to dig your heels in so that you can work on ways to improve and enhance your processes, your priorities, and your relationship with your customers. Now more than ever, you may have the capacity to deal with some of the harder issues that both you and your customers are facing. Address those recurring customer issues that you have been putting off. Perhaps there is less work to be done, and you are now capable of responding to issues faster than before so address any backlogs that you have. If money is tight, focus on ways in which you can improve your financial efficiency within the company and share your learning. Again, this is the time to reprioritise, streamline, and address any recurring issues that have inadvertently been buried for some time. A little spring cleaning never hurt anyone, especially if that cleaning can help and add value to your customers.
Remain sensitive to customers’ needs
It’s going to be difficult to turn profits during this time because your customers are more concerned with keeping what they have than adding anything new into the mix. Keep this in mind, especially when it comes to embarking on any new and fancy marketing endeavours. This definitely isn’t the time to run a scheduled campaign. Don’t waste your resources. This is a time to take a momentary pause to recollect, reflect, and reprioritise. Strategies need to be adjusted, and context is more important than ever. So, fight the urge to leverage the situation as a way to get more customers for your brand or increase your sales. To remain successful and reputable in the eyes of your customers, you’re going to have to understand their changing needs and state of mind, and take this information into consideration in your marketing efforts. You’re walking a very fine line right now, and marketing with sensitivity is crucial. Think of ways in which you can redirect your efforts to achieve the same desired goals of profitability and stability for your business. For example, rather than continuing to post your standard commercial messages, try ramping up your customer service on social media instead. You could take the time to curate useful and relevant content, and share it with your customers and community. Establish yourself as a benevolent, socially-conscious authority presence during these times and offer guidance, tips, and tricks to help your customers along the way. Remember: every little helps.
There’s no denying that these are trying times for individual workers and businesses alike. But if you take the time to reframe your perspective, you can view this as an opportunity to find ways to become more creative and re-dedicate yourself to a strong focus on customer-centricity. Put your customers first. Show them they matter and how much you care. Not only will they thank you for it, but it will help you set the proper foundation for a long-lasting relationship by showing them you’re there for them when they need it most.