You have two choices for getting through a difficult time: endure a situation or take action to adapt. Even if you take action, a period of crisis can result in a reduction in activities and/or revenue for your business. You must therefore balance your defensive strategy for the short term with your offensive strategy for the “after.”
Since your customers are your most valuable asset, it is essential to maintain a good relationship with them. Here are six suggestions to effectively manage your customer relationships in exceptional situations:
1. Stay true to your values and brand promise
Despite the difficult decisions you’ll have to make, don’t devalue your brand promise. Your customers need to see the essence of your business in your choices, actions and communications.
- If necessary, adjust your customer journey and business processes based on the context of the situation, while maintaining your brand promise. Design thinking techniques with online ideation sessions can help provoke ideas and solutions.
2. Communicate regularly
Work with your communications and public relations teams to keep communication channels open, responsive and consistent with your brand image. In the current pandemic environment, it may be necessary to communicate daily or at least twice a week.
3. Stay close to your customers
Keep your Voice of the Customer program active and relevant by adjusting the points of contact and data collection methods as needed.
- For example, extend satisfaction measurement to online transactions and your customer service centre, even if you usually focus on in-store transactions.
- Adjust your questions according to the current context and consult with your customers to understand what they expect during and after the crisis.
4. Identify opportunities
Review existing ways of doing things and explore optimization solutions (commonly called quick fixes).
- Continuously analyze your survey results and customer feedback.
- Optimize your customer journey for business continuity.
- Voice of the Customer (VoC) tools, online panels, and online communities are good sources of information.
5. Consult your employees
Your employees are an important source of information. They can provide you with a fresh perspective on your activities, which will help you optimize your business practices.
- Use an online community as a tool for collecting and distributing information.
- Adjust processes and build training tools and content that will assist your employees when they return to work.
6. Consult your partners and suppliers
Your business partners may also experience uncertainty in the face of an exceptional situation. Use this time to discuss process efficiency and their overall experience with your business.
These initiatives will enable you to maintain an ongoing relationship with your customers, employees and business partners, both in times of crisis and when you return to normal operations: a win-win approach!
WEBINAR – Online communities: engage with your customers and employees during the crisis
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