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Customer Retention: How to Maintain Consumer Relationships during COVID-19
COVID-19 has, in many ways, irrevocably changed the business landscape within a great deal of industries, forcing many companies to adopt new and innovative customer retention strategies during lockdown in an effort to remain relevant. Even as many non-essential businesses begin to reopen or resume their operations, a lot of changes need to be carefully implemented to ensure the overall safety and well-being of both customers and employees alike. Aside from implementing previously unorthodox safety measures, however, businesses need to also work hard to make their customers feel safe enough to physically return.
If this is something that you can relate to as a business owner, then you should be looking into the following customer retention strategies during the COVID-19 crisis.
Create a Specialized Customer Communications Task Force
One of your top priorities during these uncertain times should be to give your customers as much peace of mind as possible. Reassure them that you’re doing everything in your power to guarantee their safety by regularly cleaning and sanitizing your manufacturing facilities and brick-and-mortar locations. Hire customer service professionals that are available to answer all of their questions and address their concerns.
Provide Regular Updates
Information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, number of cases, and government guidelines seem to be changing at lightning speed to the extent that it can be increasingly difficult to keep up with all of the new data being thrown at us. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility, however, to keep yourself as informed as possible and provide regular updates either through advertisements, social media, or emailing customers to inform them about all of the steps you’re taking to safely resume operations.
Prioritize Customer Issues and Stay on Brand
There’s no universal formula to help businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, you need to figure out which customer retention and acquisition strategies work best for your business without compromising your key brand messaging. Listening and responding accordingly to the needs and concerns of your customer base is a great starting point.
But with all of the opposing opinions on how to handle this situation, sometimes the messaging can get a little convoluted. It’s important to adhere to safety standards and guidelines that are outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and your local government.
Empathize/Sympathize with Your Customers
Showing your customers genuine empathy and sympathy regarding their justified feelings of anxiety during this pandemic is a great way to stay connected with them and demonstrate how much you care. Not only does this demonstrate a more human side to your business, but it also proves that your customers are so much more than just numbers and sources of revenue for your business.
Understand that many of your customers’ lives have been drastically impacted by this pandemic. Whether they were laid off, had their hours and pay significantly reduced, had to homeschool their children while working from home, know someone who got sick, or they got sick themselves, there’s no way to quantify the emotional, physical, and financial turmoil caused by COVID-19.
Market Gift Cards to Customers
Gift cards have a lot of mutual advantages for both customers and businesses alike. Branded gift cards can be used like cash money based on their face value. Since customers can only use them at your establishments, the money remains within your revenue stream. Customers can typically use gift cards instead of cash money whenever they need to and as the name implies, they can also be given as gifts to other people who may need them.
Communicate Through Live Chat
Live chat is a quick and convenient way for customers to communicate with you when they need a fast response to their questions or concerns. It saves them a lot of time they might have otherwise spent waiting on hold on the phone or waiting for an email response. That instant gratification and back-and-forth communication can help solidify their faith in your business and strengthen your customer retention strategies during the pandemic.
Adjust Your Business Model Accordingly
Businesses go through a great deal of tough times during their lifespans. It’s important to remember that every business is enduring an especially difficult and unprecedented time right now. With that in mind, you need to be willing and able to make necessary adjustments to your operations, retention marketing strategies, and customer service techniques to ensure the survival of your business.
Again, this is where it’s extremely important to listen to your customers and use their valuable feedback as the fuel needed to propel your business into the next phase of the reopening process.
Incentivize Your Customers to Return
Offering special deals, discounts, and promotions that can be used in the current economic climate or redeemed at a later date is a great way to incentivize your customers to continue to support your business as opposed to your competition. Customers will appreciate anything you can do to help them save money and get through these financially tough times.
Follow Up Regularly with Customers
Regular follow up and customer satisfaction surveys actively encourage customers to interact with your business while also giving their opinions on your products and services. It’s also a great opportunity for your business to gain valuable insights into what is and isn’t working from the customers’ perspectives.
Accommodate Changing Customer Needs
How you treat your customers during this pandemic will have a significant impact on whether or not they choose to continue supporting your business in the future. Cancellations and refunds should be handled delicately and you should take every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of your employees and customers.
Do you need more customer relationship tips to help your business get through the COVID-19 pandemic?
Macromark Inc. is here to help you streamline and modify your retention marketing strategies to better fit the current needs of your business and effectively get through to your customers. We’re eager to help businesses of all sizes maintain a strong customer base and better manage their attrition rates with solid adaptable marketing strategies that work. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you.
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