April 3, 2020
Korey Thurber, SVP Solutions
Many businesses are reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 virus and it’s clear the virus will leave long-term economic consequences in its wake. In our current reality many businesses are laser focused on just keeping their businesses afloat, but it’s also critically important to plan well into the future and not only find ways to maintain the business but to grow! So, until this passes…..and it will pass…..what can businesses do today? Here are a few thoughts:
If creating a great customer experience is a critical differentiation strategy in good times, then it makes sense to double-down now…especially for your most valuable and loyal customers. When times get tough economically, it’s no time to leave your best customers feeling let down – when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, you are going to need them! Try to predict what could go wrong over the next several months and put plans in place to react and adjust as needed…don’t get caught on your heels!
In times like these, customers are likely to be especially appreciative of the above-and-beyond efforts you are making to meet their needs and expectations, even if you are having trouble doing so. In my own personal experiences, I find that I am most satisfied when I am “surprised” by what a business has done for me. Finding special ways to impress customers in this environment will go a long way in creating loyal, valuable customers in the future. This will also likely result in positive “storytelling” in social media channels with customers talking about their great experiences.
As many businesses are struggling to keep their heads above water, this could by a great opportunity to attract and acquire new customers that you may not have acquired otherwise. Ask yourself the question, can we and are we attracting customers in the current environment that we were not attracting previously?
This is where data and analytics is critical. Do a deep dive customer analysis and examine customers that are buying now vs. customers purchasing pre-coronavirus. How are they different from a demographic, psychographic and geographic standpoint? How are their purchasing behaviors different? How are their motivations to buy different? The key is capturing customer insights now so you can better serve them now and be better prepared to serve and hopefully retain them after this is over.
This now matters more than ever and healthy, motivated, engaged team members will create a clear competitive advantage. Support your employees in this difficult time. Find ways to engage them and interact with them remotely, make sure they know they are still part of your “work family” and that they are important to you. For example, a couple of things we are doing at BLEND360 are virtual happy hours and a virtual talent show…all by video conference!
Companies should also be looking for ways to empower their employees to step-up and think of ways to fulfill customer needs.
In our current coronavirus reality, most customers will want to do business with companies that understand the challenges they are facing and that they can trust and rely on. This certainly made sense before COVID-19 and is twice as important today.