So, how do you ensure that your customers stick with your brand during and after this black swan event? Here are some tips to help you give them the best customer experience.
1. Take measures to curb the spread
COVID-19 has left people worried about contracting the disease and anyone taking measures to curb the spread will surely score in his favor. Realign your operations in a way which assures your customers that you are making efforts to flatten the curve. If your business involves customers sitting or standing while waiting for service, ensure that there is adequate spacing between people as recommended. If you haven’t been accepting online payments, this is the time to start. You can introduce hand sanitization points in your store and ensure each person entering your store is sanitizing his or her hands. You can also offer a discount for those ordering online to encourage people to stay at home. Take this a notch higher by disinfecting delivery boxes before delivering to your customers.
2. Adopt flexible payment plans
The pandemic leaves many uncertainties; no one can really tell when things are going to get back to normal. Most people are spending their money on essentials only and saving the rest for the future. Many people will not be able to afford some services and goods while some are bound to default on some payments. Make your customers feel valued by allowing a flexible payment method. If you charge penalties for late payments, now is the time to waive them. Your customers will not forget that you helped lighten their financial burden during this difficult time.
3. Take cancellations with poise
As social distancing has been sensitized as the number one measure to stop the spread, people are encouraged to stay at home. If your business involves travel (be it as the organizer of business events or even in the travel industry), don’t give your customers a hard time canceling their bookings. Waive cancellations penalties if you charge any. Your business will have a shift downwards, but you can be assured that your customers will be there to help you back up again.
4. Communicate clearly and promptly
During this pandemic, brand policies are most likely to change from time to time depending on governments’ directives and measures put in place to curb the spread. It is paramount that you keep your customers updated on any change you make in your business. Let the communication be prompt and precise to ensure that your customers stay in the light of what is happening to your business. Make sure to optimize your website and social networking sites using banners, pop-ins, and interstitials to pass across any changes. Make sure information is available to your customers in the language of their choice. All this will make your customers feel connected to you and as part of your brand now and in the future.
5. Invest in employees’ motivation
This pandemic has left everyone anxious, including your employees. Remember that their lives have also been disrupted and their anxiety levels are high as well. Adding that they are dealing with panicked customers, they can fail greatly in giving your customers a satisfying experience. In this regard, ensure that your employees’ welfare is well taken care of. Invest in trainings and have regular brainstorming conferences to ensure they stay motivated to give their best, especially now that they are required to work from home. Being the point of contact between your company and the customers, how you care for their welfare now will directly affect customer experience.
Without a doubt, people are now focused on their health and that of their loved ones, if you are a customer-centric businessman you should focus on that too. Instead of focusing on the effects this pandemic will have on your business, look more on how your customers’ needs are going to change and quickly adapt to these changes for a more improved customer experience.