Trust and confidence are key to building relationships and growing repeat business. So how can you boost these during difficult times?
Uncertainty is bad for business, but it presents an opportunity to build deeper and more meaningful relationships with customers. The steps below give some ideas below on how to do this:
1. Be true to you
Whatever your business and sector it has never been more important to communicate your brand, ethos and values to customers. This will help build an emotional connection, which is crucial to forging loyalty. Satisfying your customers’ emotional needs is often as important as their logical and rational ones. During difficult times ensure that every interaction counts by demonstrating exactly what your business is about. Communicating purpose and empathy will help you stand out from the crowd and, crucially, engender repeat business.
2. Explore the new
Ask yourself: is my company doing everything possible to make my customers’ lives better? Is it fulfilling their needs? Uncertainty and change can force businesses to look at things with fresh eyes, meaning now is the perfect time to consider what services, products or packages you could offer to increase loyalty and recurring business. Be imaginative! This could be the time to offer special incentives and discounts to retain customers and, potentially, attract new ones.
3. Talk to your customers
During the economic crash of 2008-9, when motor sales were falling globally, Hyundai increased its market share in the US by 40%. How? By talking to their customers. The company discovered that plenty of people wanted to buy cars, but they were concerned about losing their jobs and not being able to make their monthly payments. Because of this Hyundai completely pivoted their strategy from sales incentives to offering a job loss protection scheme. This allowed the company to outperform their rivals and elevate their prominence. What insight can your customers give you? How much do you really know about them?
4. Look after your evangelists
Every business will have its most loyal customers. These are not only important in buying goods and services, but they are also likely strong advocates for your business. So ensure you are doing everything you can to look after these unofficial company ambassadors. Are there special services, offers or incentives you could provide them with? Do they have active social media channels you could leverage or piggyback on to promote your business? While every customer matters, in difficult times it often pays to put your most loyal customers – those who are least likely to walk away from you – first.
5. Cash flow matters
While it is crucial to create meaningful relationships with customers, put your business in the best place to monetise this by keeping an eye on orders, inventory and, crucially, cash flow. In touch times many companies delay payments to suppliers, so don’t be surprised if your customers do the same thing to you. This is where building meaningful connections and nurturing relationships matters. Get one step ahead by ensuring your cash collection processes are robust and that you are invoicing in a timely and accurate manner.
Case study: Puralife
Since 2005 the man behind Puralife has been constantly innovating when it comes to finding natural solutions to health and wellbeing challenges.
Ross Riley started his business with a focus on providing natural and highly effective supplements for horses and dogs, but in 2019 he realised there was a need for a powerful and natural cleaning solution for commercial premises.
“After speaking to my customers in the equestrian world I saw the growing importance of hygiene in the workplace, but with a real focus on a non-toxic, safe and easy-to-implement solution,” he explains. “I started researching options and that’s when I discovered silver ion technology.”
Focus groups with potential new customers supported the validity of Ross’ idea, with Puralife’s new silver ion technology range proving how important it is to listen to what your audience wants – and to be agile and adaptable in your offering.