It’s not an unusual decision to stop your operations for the meantime while the pandemic persists. For some companies, it may even be the only way to save themselves from total ruin. While temporarily shutting down may cause a lot of frustrations to entrepreneurs, they shouldn’t let it loom over the opportunities they can focus on for the time being.
One such opportunity is improving your client relationships. After all, people forgetting you exist and moving on to the next vendor is the worse thing that can happen while you’re away.
Evaluate Where You Stand
Before you begin any conversation, it’s essential that you know exactly where you stand in terms of client relationships. Has communication always been a priority in your business strategy? Do you have reliable survey tools for business that you can refer to for previous conversations and feedback?
If this hasn’t been your company’s strong point, don’t worry. It’s never too late to start building meaningful relationships with your clients. What you’ll want moving forward is to have a comprehensive record of all kinds of interactions you make with them, may it be via email, a messaging app, or social media. Comb through them and determine specific areas you can improve on. It could be your spiel, your response time, or your ability to resolve issues at once.
Take your time doing this and gather as many resources as you can. It’s by assessing how you’ve done so far when it comes to customer service that you can determine the ways you can maximize this opportunity.
Know What Your Customers Want
The importance of getting your customers’ feedback becomes exponentially higher when the economic climate changes. Their needs will change, and it’s up to you to find out how to best cater to them.
The pandemic paints a vivid picture of this with sustainability being a prime example. With the heightened awareness of health, animal cruelty, and climate change, people are leaning more towards sustainable products and practices. How this applies to your business depends on the industry you belong to.
Now that you’ve created a new strategy in building a relationship with your existing clientele, it’s time to reach out and get their insight. Is it sustainability they’re worried about or is it cutting costs?
Create a compelling email (without any pitch), social media post, or a survey to know what they expect from you. What picture of customer service will give them the most satisfaction? It’s easy to grope in the dark and assume, but doing so increases the chances of mistakes. Since the pandemic has put you in financial trouble, you’ll want to make sure that the next steps you take before, during, and after your re-opening are all worth the money you shell out.
Always Prioritize, Never Pester
The truth of the matter is, even your most loyal clients won’t always respond to your messages. No matter how compelling you make it (think discounts and freebies), there will be those who will ignore you big time. That’s okay. Avoid the temptation of sending them follow-up emails or reminding them that the discount offer will end in three days. Pestering them will do the exact opposite of what you’re after. You’ll never know exactly how the pandemic affected even your best patrons, so it’s good practice to wait before reaching out again.
Focus instead on prioritizing those who do respond. Find out what they need and how you can best provide them. What concerns do they usually have about online stores and deliveries? Are they low on funds and would rather push a project a couple of months back? Perhaps a new payment agreement would persuade them to sign the contract and resume work with you.
Open Your Doors Slowly
Depending on how gravely the pandemic struck your business, re-opening may not be as easy as other companies find it to be. Resume your operations at the pace you’re most comfortable with, and start expanding as the clients you actively serve begin to grow. What’s important is that you’re doing things at a pace that guarantees you’ll not only survive, but possibly develop client relationships that will propel you to success post-pandemic.
By focusing on reaching out to your customers and reconnecting in a meaningful way, you can get a better footing during the pandemic. Better still, you may even re-open sooner than you anticipated.