What is a crisis? - A crisis can be defined as a period of intense difficulty. When a business encounters a crisis, certain important decisions have to be made. A key priority should be Customer Retention. Everyone goes into survival mode at times like these, so we have to know what things are important and best for our business. We call this, Crisis Management.
Before a crisis strikes, business owners should think about how a disaster would impact employees, customers, suppliers, the general public and their company's value. A crisis can strike any company anytime, anywhere. Advanced planning is the key to survival. So, how do you retain customers in times of crisis like the current world pandemic?
Some important Customer Retention Strategies can help us.
Crisis Management Plan
The first important thing is to be prepared. It is difficult to have a crisis prevention plan, so it is better to have a Crisis Management plan. When we have a Crisis Management Plan in place already it helps keep all stakeholders calm. It is always good to have a designated Crisis Management team that can take over during those challenging times and they need to have a plan as to how to respond to the customers. This team shouldn't be too large as it gets difficult to make timely decisions. It shouldn't be too small either as the business needs to be considered as a whole.
Accept The Situation
We never expect a crisis to happen but when it happens do not deny it and accept the situation. Never panic in times like these, which will, in turn, result in poor decision making. Keep calm and stay prepared. Some crises may even turn out to be positive at some point. Be practical and make decisions accordingly. Always remember 'Being challenged in life is inevitable but being defeated is optional'.
Listen to Your Customers
During times of crisis, always make sure that you are approachable and can be reached by your customers. It is best to have live chat software so that customers are assured that their queries are listened to immediately. Stress levels become higher at crucial times but never lose your cool to a customer. A business exists because of its run customers and therefore Customer Retention has to be a major goal in times of crisis. Make multiple channels available for customers to reach out to you. Never feel bad in apologizing to your customers. As Leonard Saffir has quoted, 'In crisis management, be quick with the facts, slow with the blame'. Assure customers by offering good solutions rather than lame excuses.
Establish Consistent Communication
Customers need to know that you are helping them. Never keep customers in the dark. Be transparent and let them know what is happening. Respond to customers thoughtfully. Do not promise things that cannot be done immediately. When something progressive happens, let the customer know as soon as possible. This is an important Customer Retention Strategy. Give regular updates on the progress and what is being done to handle the crisis. Customers have to be assured that messages conveyed, are as timely as they are received and that you are providing them with the utmost care.
In times of a crisis, stop doing things that aren't helping. Existing customers need to be taken care of instead of trying to market the product and find new customers. Customer Retention is more important as loyalty will help in improving a business. Good product development helps in increased customer retention. Find out what is more acceptable for customers and work accordingly.
Customer Feedback at Various Checkpoints
Customers always need to be heard and cared for. At times of Crisis Management, we have to double and triple our alertness so that our customers are responded to promptly. Any feedback received from the customer has to be addressed through different channels. The Customer Retention Strategies involve receiving feedback from customers at different touchpoints of their customer journey. This can be done by implementing NPS surveys at different points such as Onboarding, interaction with support, feature usage and customer relationship. Don't know how to get on with NPS surveys? Check What is Net Promoter Score?. After all, as Kate Nasser says 'Customer service represents the heart of a brand in the hearts of its customers'.
Learn From The Experience
Crisis Management, although we may be well prepared, such times are of great inconvenience to all parties involved. Working on our Customer Retention Strategies might be stressful but it determines the success of our business in difficult times. When you handle your customers carefully especially during times like these, they will remember you and this will help build trust with them in the future. Change these difficult situations into learning opportunities. The money spent during these times can be considered as an investment in learning and development. Learn to sail through a crisis as well as when the opportunity prevails.
As quoted by Vince Lombardi, 'It takes months to find a customer..seconds to lose one'. Consider that your customers are always right and help them sail smoothly through a crisis by building their trust in you. After all, customer loyalty is priceless. We hope these customer retention strategies help during this unprecedented time of Covid-19 and any other difficult periods your business may face requiring Crisis Management.