The COVID19 Pandemic has had a devastating impact on our economy. Plenty of small businesses had to shut down temporarily, most of them aren’t opening back up ever, as per a Yelp report. The Businesses that are looking to open up are in the middle of figuring out recovery past the Pandemic.
One of the bigger challenges for businesses to resume post-pandemic is to be operating in a new market altogether. Consumers have changed their buying habits over almost a year-long quarantine, so there’s a shift in demand.
Keeping in mind these changes in consumer habits and behavior, we’re listing out strategies and tips to follow while getting back into the market, post-covid.
7 Tips to Serve Customers better in post COVID-19 world
1. Cater same needs in new ways
With stay at home orders and lost jobs, the pandemic has pushed consumers to change their lifestyles significantly. According to the survey of JPMorgan Chase, a lot of people are saving more money, cutting their spending, and have more spare time than ever. This doesn’t mean your products or services are totally useless — they just need to be repurposed to match your customer’s new lifestyle. Map your product to a core need that your customers fulfilled using your product. Find a way to solve the same problems for them, supporting their current lifestyle.
For example — if you run a lawn care business, your customers might be less willing to spend on your regular services. They still need their yards to be trimmed and cleaned up, so given the current conditions, you can start selling lawn care products to your customers to enable them to do it themselves.
2. Offer value where others don’t
Customer loyalty can be fickle during times like Pandemic. One of the best ways to keep your customers is to start by collecting, managing, and analyzing their feedback. From there, you can differentiate yourself with extra features and value additions. And oftentimes, it doesn’t even matter if these extra additions are really of any value for the end-user. When consumers make quick buying decisions, bigger is always perceived as better value, overlooking their actual needs. This perception is further heightened during times of recession. Use it as a lever to position your products and services as better value propositions, by adding extras and features that don’t necessarily drive up the costs.
For achieving that, CRM service software helps businesses to understand the total value of each customer over their business life cycle. Understanding customer value allows businesses to serve their customers effectively thereby increasing brand loyalty.
To go above and beyond, enable your team to surprise and delight your customers. For example, the team at Im-a-puzzle, an online jigsaw puzzle site, offered their most active users their subscription service at no cost. Their users were thrilled, and as result, this increased referrals and overall traffic to the site.
3. Enable an easier, more comfortable lifestyle
With every product and service being increasingly commoditized every day, offering a solution that’s easier to use is a huge moat. Consumers want to spend the least time and effort in getting things done, hence an easier to use product is a more appealing choice. Find ways to make your products fit into your customer’s current lifestyle, making it easier for them to adapt to using the product. A product that does otherwise is a tougher sell, and easier to replace since competing products might offer simpler products while maintaining the core value proposition.
Take a look at Netflix vs. cable for entertainment content. As per Statista, the former has taken over the traditional form of entertainment. The reason being — cable only allows you to watch your programs at a certain time slot. Netflix enables you to watch whatever you want, whenever you want, across different devices and platforms, unlike cable. This makes it easier to switch to a product like Netflix, which even if expensive, serves the same function while being more convenient and comfortable to use.
4. Deliver digital commerce
With internet penetration, digital channels are readily serviceable, more versatile, and easier to access for your customers. Online channels also open up opportunities such as digital coupon marketing, which helps you drive further sales and inspire loyalty. It’s imperative to deliver your services in part or full through digital channels. More so coming out of the pandemic, consumers are now used to spending more time on screens, which makes it easier for them to access your products digitally.
Make it a point to list and distribute your products over any and every digital channel possible. Digital channels like the eCommerce marketplace also scale really well, enabling you to sell not only to a local customer base but a global audience too. Especially through partner channels, you can widen your reach to a much larger audience by having an army of third-party sales reps sharing their referral links to promote your product. This helps both the parties involved, which would have otherwise not been possible if you were to limit yourself to your current sales funnels and marketing channels.
5. Focus on distribution
Distribution plays a key role in enabling your existing and new customers to find and transact from you post events like the 2020 pandemic. Consumers have gotten used to new means and channels for buying products. Lacking presence in growing sales channels where your customers have now shifted will mean losing demand from that part of the market. Hence distributing your product across a wide range of retail channels is essential to help find and cater to your products’ demand.
For example, if a frequent customer moves to a different geography or stops shopping at physical retailers — you’ll lose out by not being on Amazon. Hence, make sure your product is accessible to your existing and potential customers on every sales channel possible. So post events like a covid pandemic, which forced customers to make lifestyle changes, people can still find and buy from you.
6. Prioritize customer satisfaction
While it is understandable that businesses might be operating at partial capacity from pre-2020 times, customers don’t expect anything less. The majority of consumers would be really careful while making purchases during and post the Covid, and post-sales customer satisfaction can make or break your reputation. As a business, times like now are the most crucial in helping reinforce trust with your customers. Consumers will have a new set of expectations from your product or service, so you’ll have to find what those are first. Throughout the customer’s journey from buying to consuming, ensure that these expectations are being met.
For example, if you’re selling physical products online and are facing problems with respect to shipping times — make sure you communicate the same to your customers. Your customers might have ordered from you after having planned to use your product during the estimated delivery dates, and if it arrives late, it’ll be a huge disappointment. Prepare your support team for every situation and set the right rules for customer communication, so it’s always clear, helpful and interactive.
You need to be able to provide remote assistance when your customer is experiencing issues with your product. That way, you can improve your customer service with a live visual support solution, and provide assistance whenever the customer is, even if he or she needs technical and urgent help. In the end, providing an amazing customer experience can make a huge impact on your overall business operations and success.
7. Adopt new communication channels
If your customers aren’t spending time on the street or subway commutes, it doesn’t make sense to spend on physical banner ads at these locations. More time is being spent behind screens, and new content platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels are seeing exponential growth in their engagement. This calls for a shift in your businesses’ marketing activities.
Move over and be present on platforms relevant to your customers, and engage them with product-focused content. Building your presence on these platforms will not only help you engage with existing customers online but attract new ones too, organically.
For example, if you’ve resorted to dropping flyers in the neighborhood to generate leads for your lawn care business — it might no longer be as effective. Instead, using platforms like Facebook Ads or Facebook Messenger will help you accurately target users as per their occupation, geography, and several other factors, which helps you reach more relevant people who could use your products.
Final words — analyze, pivot and overcome
Resuming your business to adapt to an almost entirely new market might seem tough – but not impossible. Your customers still exist with the same core problems your product previously solved. They just need to be served in new ways that complement their circumstances and lifestyle.
Talking to your customers, analyzing the changes they’ve made to their purchasing habits, and how you fit into their lifestyle will help you gain better context on the next stages for your business. Pivot to help your customers in their current conditions, as easily and valuably as you can – it’ll enable you to spool up demand and get your business back on track.