During the Covid-19 pandemic, several factors came into play that disrupted customer loyalty and negatively impacting revenue. As many businesses now focus on post-COVID recovery, developing and implementing an effective marketing strategy is crucial. Aside from attracting customers, you should also focus on rebuilding customer loyalty.
Below are 5 tips for inspiring customer loyalty in the post-pandemic times, but first, here is a brief overview of how the pandemic affected customer loyalty.
How the Covid-19 Pandemic Affected Customer Loyalty
The Covid-19 pandemic affected customer loyalty in 3 main ways:
- With the lockdowns, customers had to rely on online shopping. A customer might have been keen to buy your products before the pandemic. However, if your company’s e-commerce platforms, website or app, were not working correctly, they automatically searched and bought other products.
Those who got used to buying in-store had to adjust their shopping behavior and rely on online reviews, which they could quickly spot-on websites like Pissedconsumer.com. Such review platforms help online shoppers quickly sieve through reliable and unreliable businesses.
- At the onset of the pandemic, people went into a stockpiling mode. Due to the high demand for products, some went out of stock. Therefore, customers had to buy what was available rather than the brands they preferred.
- Over time, many people suffered financial shortcomings and had to cut down on their expenditure or buy the most affordable products.
5 Tips for Rebuilding Customer Loyalty Post-Pandemic
1. Provide Excellent Customer Service
In post-pandemic times, excellent customer service can improve your business perception and loyalty. At the heart of excellent customer service are customer service representatives. Be cognizant of their wellbeing and needs.
The team’s priorities have shifted since the pandemic. For them to provide excellent customer service, your customer service managers have to be in a healthy state. Therefore, take measures to improve and support them mentally, physically, and emotionally.
For instance, constantly communicate that their wellbeing is a priority to the company and encourage community collaboration among employees for emotional and mental support.
Then, set up systems and processes to efficiently handle customer questions, issues, and concerns.
Provide the necessary infrastructure and a conducive working environment. Ensure you have clear and practical customer service policies in place. Set up a system for recording customer concerns and feedback to plan on the best response and solutions.
2. Address Customer Complaints
Pay keen attention to customer feedback, particularly complaints. They offer an opportunity to improve your business procedures, policies, products, and services.
A customer having a negative experience with your business is not the main problem per se. You lose their loyalty if you do not apologize and take measures to address the issue. Don’t linger too much on the mistakes. Instead, make sure your customer service contacts the affected customers, apologizes, and offers compensation.
Then, focus on correcting the underlying factor that caused the problem. Contact the customers afterward and update them on the changes you have made to ensure they have a smooth experience with your business moving forward.
3. Have a Loyalty Program in Place
A recent study found that 55% of U.S consumers are interested in loyalty programs by local businesses. A loyalty or reward program encourages subscribed members to buy from your business rather than a competitor.
Setting up a loyalty program does not have to be expensive. Some third-party reward programs cost as low as $50 a month. However, if you have a budget for it, you can build a customized loyalty program system that is integrated into your POS system.
Keep in mind that customer loyalty exceeds your product’s quality, prices, and discounts. Customers are loyal to businesses that align with their values. As a result, do not build your loyalty program based on monetary benefits only; attach a cause to it, e.g. environmental conversation, donating a percentage of the sale price or an item for each item a customer buys, supporting the disadvantaged, etc.
4. Streamline Your Ecommerce Platforms
According to a McKinsey report, the e-commerce industry saw growth during the Covid-19 pandemic, similar to what would have taken ten years. This led to many customers adopting online shopping due to its convenience.
Therefore, while your customers may be loyal to you, if they can’t find you online, they will most likely try another business that has an online presence.
It is not enough to just have an e-commerce platform; it has to be efficient. Work with developers and designers to improve its functionality, brand appeal, as well as user experience.
Ensure that the ordering, shipping, and return processes are frictionless. Also, maintain inventory to avoid customers having to consider alternatives because your products are out of stock.
5. Strengthen Your Relationship with High-Value Customers
Statistics show that the cost of acquiring a new customer is up to five times more than retaining a loyal one. It is also much easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one.
Determine your average customer lifetime value and establish your most valuable customers. As per the Pareto principle, chances are 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. Pay special attention to the 20% high-value customers to build their customer loyalty.
Establish ways of nurturing your relationship with them, e.g. through email marketing or occasional calls. Provide exceptional customer service, e.g. 24/7 customer support on live chat or phone.
Listen to the customer’s feedback and take immediate action where applicable. Also, actively seek customer feedback through feedback surveys. See if your business is listed on review platforms like BBB or Pissed Consumer to spot the pain points. Follow up with phone calls or emails to establish customer satisfaction.
The last year has been tough for most businesses. You might have made losses or had to downsize. But, you can come back bigger and better with proper strategies.
As you take measures to attract new customers, have a system to retain them and earn their loyalty. Leverage on existing customers to improve their loyalty and ultimately increase your revenue.