Without customers, your company doesn't exist. That's an especially terrifying prospect in an economy that keeps bottoming out. Revenue won't materialize without loyal customers.
If you take care of them, however, they'll reciprocate. And how can you remain top of mind with your customers with so much going on in the world? A lot of things are competing for their attention, from their health to their livelihood to their mental health. Making things easier on them is the key to both solving their problems and making your services more visible.
Start by using these five trust strategies:
After 70 years of combined experience, Ted Waldron and James Wetherbe at Harvard Business Review found that what they call the HEART framework can help companies preserve their relationships with consumers during times when customer trust may be challenged:
Customers have a lot of questions. To demonstrate your credibility and reliability and give them peace of mind, try to address them in a timely manner.
Even if you don't want to stretch your team too thin or currently don't have enough team members to handle this responsibility, chatbot technology should be added to your customer service strategy. They can provide immediate responses, personalized customer experiences and real-time problem-solving.
Retaining your existing customers, as opposed to recruiting new ones, saves you time and money. In fact, just increasing your customer retention rates by 5 percent can increase profits by 25 percent to 95 percent. Best of all? There are several cost-effective and easy ways to show your appreciation to your customers.
Points and referral programs are tried-and-true techniques. You could launch a value program, where you donate a portion of sales to nonprofits. Another idea is to host an exclusive virtual event like a training tutorial, product demo or concert livestream. You could also keep it incredibly simple: Square refunded software licensing fees during this pandemic because this is when its customers need its products most.
Richard Branson once tweeted, "Take care of your employees, and they'll take care of your business. It's as simple as that." When you take care of your teammates, they're healthy, happier and more productive. As a result, they'll be less likely to leave and become your biggest advocates. They'll also be more engaged and helpful -- if you don't think that's important, just think about the businesses you support. I'm positive one of the main factors is how likable the employees are.
Most importantly, it's the right thing to do if you want to run a moral and humane organization. Unsurprisingly, that can affect your company's reputation. Companies like Amazon and Instacart have received backlash regarding how they're treating essential workers; these employees havebegun striking. No matter their position, the health and wellness of your employees should always come first.
If you don't think customers are paying attention, consider the several studies that have shown that consumers expect brands to be socially responsible. Amazon will be fine, even if people cancel their Prime memberships. But for a small business, this could be a make-or-break situation.
How can you prioritize your team's health and wellness? An obvious place to start is by offering your employees unlimited sick days or flexible scheduling. You should also provide health insurance, access to mental health and fitness apps and standing desks to counter the effects of a sedentary lifestyle if possible.
For a majority of business owners, that means protecting your customers' privacy and data. You can achieve this by only collecting the data you truly need and explaining why you need it, as well as what measures you've taken to protect it. Make sure it's stored in an encrypted network and backed up. Train your team in basic cybersecurity prevention to prevent breaches.
Bottom line is if you build trust with your customers by doing your part to make their lives easier, you won't have to worry about them leaving during uncertain times.