“The cumulative loss to the world’s GDP from 2020 to 2021 will be approximately $9 trillion” – The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF).
The covid 19 pandemic has disrupted local and global markets. It has created millions of job losses, affected as many businesses, and has changed people’s lives for the foreseeable future. This is a reality many people are realizing, as harsh economic conditions are altering consumer spending and more and more people are becoming financially insecure. For most businesses this trend is creating a new set of challenges to alter how they secure new customers.
While consumers become more aware of this situation the available choices gives them the freedom to decide where and when they want to spend. Consumers want more than the best for lower prices. They also seek dependability, confidence and trust with brands/businesses.
A business does not have this luxury. If a business has already built up customer loyalty, now they have to compete with other businesses offering more for lower prices. A dedicated customer base is the cornerstone for most businesses to thrive in this covid 19 marketplace. But guess what? Businesses are now in competition to disrupt the playing field simply to survive. Call it survival of the fittest, businesses are now adapting to the needs of the customer. Retaining loyalty does not simply cut it, businesses now need to be aware of what customers need in advance. Understanding how your company operates and what you need to change to keep your loyal customers close, is the new “modern reality”.
Here are 3 ways building customer relationships during covid-19, and how businesses can adapt to the changing landscape.
1. Scratch off your growth goals for 2020 and 2021
Take a moment to reflect on your long term goals set before the covid19 pandemic broke out. From a sustainable standpoint and a financial standpoint determine if these goals are a realistic pathway to success. Even some of the global brands are refocusing their priorities, resources and long term goals to survive this crisis. If your business has not considered altering its’ future economic goals, you need to start doing it now.
If your business is to survive covid19, then it MUST have a plan to maintain the existing customer base. This part of the solution is something that you can be in control of. Focusing on customer acquisition could pose the danger of creating a funnel effect, where while new customers come in and existing customers could go elsewhere. What this could do is for businesses to create value in “haste” to keep up the competition, and to prevent existing customers from going elsewhere.
Research also shows that new customers could cost five times more to convert than retaining existing customers. In a slow economy it is more economical and easier to build on existing loyalties, and provide more value as completion heats up.
Do not fear missing out on opportunities for growth; rather, consider this crisis a chance to cement the fundamental processes and market share that make your business scalable.
2. Focus on operational excellence, and keep it customer-centric
Operational excellence revolves around a mindset that revolves around meeting compliance expectations. It also involves maintaining operational costs. While these are basic aspects in running a business, what most businesses don’t understand is the fact they lose grip when trying to find new customers and new markets. This is an error some business commit even during better economic conditions. Spending more on retaining new customers (not yet loyal to your business) will be at your own detriment than focusing on operational excellence to maintain existing customers.
Just like how websites collect visitor metrics, businesses have to get creative in knowing what the customer want in terms of value, ahead of time. This could be an end-to-end process, from the time a phone call is placed to delivering a product and improving experience and creating a lasting impression.
This mindset should be ingrained just like a company vision, and in to the very structure of the business and its’ team.
3. Focus more on data-driven precision
The post covid19 era, is the “rightful era” of digital marketing and social communication, and when used correctly, data driven metrics can offer more specific insights into your customers’ behaviors.
Utilizing this data has never been simpler, and surveying your existing customer base and their behavior can dive more accurate decisions in creating value. Your customers’ digital fingerprint will help you understand their needs, which products they spent more time checking out and their intended buying decisions.
Developing a comprehensive customer excellence blueprint will help you set standards, goals and monitor your progress. This will help you identify areas that will improve your customer centric processes. It will also empower your business to map out future goals, changes, and improvements and help determine what aspect of the business to improve later on. This will also makes you flexible to create change, will also help you evolve as times gets more tougher and will certainly make you better prepared than your local competition.
Using these adaptations, businesses can stay focused on doing what they do best: concentrate on customer retention. Most businesses lose focus on this when trying to expand, get new customers and planning for growth. Surviving these tough economic conditions calls for smarter ways to stay in business, and it involves staying the course which will pave the way to staying in business in 2021.