[Opinion] How to Maintain Customer Loyalty and Trust During Times of Uncertainty

[Opinion] How to Maintain Customer Loyalty and Trust During Times of Uncertainty

Many SMEs across the country are having to make remarkable changes to how they operate, serve, and engage their customers due to the current pandemic.

The current crises have caused many businesses to move their operations online and their employees to work remotely.

One of the biggest concerns businesses have had during this time is how to ensure a good customer experience under the current situation and during times of uncertainty. SMEs have been forced to maintain and build customer relationships when their operations have been greatly overturned.

They are now facing tremendous tension between generating sales during a period of extreme economic hardship and respecting the threats to life and livelihood that have altered consumer priorities and preferences.

Practicing good customer experience can help businesses create brand loyalty, retain revenue, and gain new customers. It is important to focus on the lifetime value of the customer and seek to understand what your customer lifetime with your business at the moment.

Some suggestions to help businesses manage their customers during these uncertain times include

Educate Consumers About How to Interact with Your Company
It is important to inform your consumers about changes in your operations, including new working hours, facility closures, staff reductions, customer service availability, and ordering options among others. SMEs must be seen as being proactive and inspired by their customer’s interests.

They should also remember that their customers have customers too and what you communicate may reach an even greater audience. Businesses should share valuable and appropriate information through various social media channels giving consumers multiple options and staying active and present on their social media accounts.

For example, most businesses are using Instagram live to answer questions and post updates on their feeds and stories. Businesses should engage regularly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn by sharing positive messages about their business and encourage their customers to stay loyal.

Re-defining new revenue models:
SMEs need a tremendous amount of perseverance, dedication, focus, and even some luck to grow and maintain their customers in this current environment.

It is therefore important for businesses to manage their growth and deliver exceptional services to their customers are paramount for long-term success. This can be done through special offers and discounts to retain your customer base and potentially attract new customers.

For example, if your product or services is price sensitive, businesses should pay attention to their pricing strategies by finding out what the competition is charging and raise or lower their prices based on their goals.

Lowering prices can increase revenues to make up for lower margins whiles raising prices can create a higher perceived value in the minds of consumers and increase their margins.

Build your customers trust by delivering on your promises
What promises have your brand made to your customers? Have you fulfilled those promises? Businesses break a customer’s trust when they don’t deliver on their promises.

Today’s business environment has many unknowns, especially around customer’s tastes and preferences, supply chains, delivery times, health, and wellbeing of your employees.

Customers are trusting those who are keeping and living up to their promises. Reach out to your consumers and listen to their concerns and respond appropriately as well as reminding them of why they love your brand and how you will protect that during these times.

Define your Future Plan
Every entrepreneur must reevaluate the changes they have to make to their current operations and comply with government-imposed limits and restrictions.

Failure to plan could be disastrous and businesses risk losing customers. It is essential to plan thoroughly to protect yourself from the impact of potential crises.

SME must be well-positioned to maintain a revamped business model until things return to normal.

They must also put in place an employee’s development plan and provide the necessary tools for their future work schedule, securing financial sustainability, assess the resilience of supply chains, and reinforce curial systems to support unprecedented levels while remotely and not withstanding an upsurge in cyberattacks.

Source: Andrews Ayiku (ayik.andrews@upsamail.edu.gh)

 

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