Running a customer-centric business in the midst of a mounting crisis is an uphill battle. When cash-flows are low and profits become a distant dream all of a sudden, keeping the business afloat and holding on to your existing customers becomes paramount.
Crises affect both businesses and their consumers. In times of crisis, a customer’s interaction with the company can have a tell-tale effect upon his/her sense of trust and loyalty. Just like a business gets rattled when its revenue tap dries up and it looks for funds to sustain its operations, similarly customers feel vulnerable during trying times as to how the business they depend upon wholeheartedly, will be able to deliver its services and experiences with the same respect, care and concern.
It is therefore imperative for business leaders to be at the forefront and measure shifts in customer behaviour and preference during times of crisis. Keeping a tab on how customers react to tough situations can allow an organization to effectively strategize its business operations and at the same time, innovate to redesign its business fundamentals for the betterment of the customers.
Remember, in tough times, it’s your loyal customers who will keep your cash registers ringing and likely have the confidence to purchase from you. Your business may have come to nearly a standstill for the moment, but if you show a generous gesture of empathy and concern towards your customers, they will be the real advocates for your business and stand by your side during these difficult times. With such a strong community by your side, you will be able to wade through the crisis with success.
So, how will you keep your customers close to your heart?
- Keep their confidence warm: It’s true that consumer confidence drops when crisis situations drop from out of the blue. However, there will always be some customers who won’t hesitate to buy from you. Your only priority is to ensure that they still be loyal to your business. Give them more reasons to trust you and purchase from you. Whether it’s real estate or automobile, tell them how lockdown situations have given you another reason to stay positive and venture into online territory. Give them the confidence about purchasing online and top it up with discounts and cashback rewards.
- Communicate proactively with them: Now more than ever, customers need a voice to hold on to, a resource they can trust and make them feel safe. Organizations who play a stellar role in reaching out to customers, feeding their needs with care, empathy and proactive solutions, create a long-lasting impression upon customers’ minds. Let them know if you are switching operations to digital through email, notifications and on your website. Give them a medium to connect with you through social media and send them personalized notes or gift cards as a token of empathy.
- Educate consumers about your online business: Tough times call for drastic measures. In the age of social distancing, parking your business online is the new normal. In such a situation, tutoring your customers on how they will make their purchases, whether it’s worth superseding the physical experiences and on customer availability timings can earn major brownie points from customers. Assure them that in times of upheaval, they can bank on you and you will continue providing the value proposition that defines your business.
- Hold an event online: With most of us quarantined and craving for some fun and entertainment, announcing an online event can be a good touch to perk up the relations with your consumers. It is a novel way to keep your customers engaged and build a goodwill too.
We are going through a period of uncertainty and gloom. Rising up to this challenge and fashioning innovative ways to get through this difficult phase, speaks a lot about the character of a business. At the same time, holding the hands of your customers in these tough times and nurturing relationships through care, concern and empathy can create connections that may last a lifetime.