Never before in human history has any pandemic affected so many lives across the world. Today, it has been months since the virus was identified in the Wuhan district of China.
Despite efforts by hundreds of pharmaceutical companies, mankind is to find a vaccine for COVID-19. In a bid to control the spread of the virus, social distancing has become the norm.
Most people are avoiding any unnecessary movement and are restricting themselves to their homes. Footfall has reduced, and while this is a welcome step in keeping a check on the virus spread, it is not a healthy trend for businesses.
Unless you are a manufacturer of masks and sanitizers, chances are that your business has incurred losses because of the pandemic. Today, businesses are fearing that the economic impact of coronavirus will be much higher than what was initially anticipated.
Luckily for you, in this technology-driven age, businesses can keep their customers and employees engaged even without any physical proximity. In this article, we shall talk about 5 ways by which you can earn the loyalty of your customers during the pandemic.
Be Proactive in Your Customer Communication
Amidst rising COVID cases, lockdown, and new social protocols, your customers are just as confused as you. To ensure that you do not lose their trust, you need to go out of the way and keep them updated on the status of your business.
If you are closing your doors or changing your business hours, it is important to keep your customers in the loop. There is nothing as bad turning up to your store after taking sufficient precautions only to find it closed.
For businesses that are continuing to operate in the pandemic, it is important to inform customers of the sanitization practices adopted. You may come up with innovative video slideshows to let customers following your social media channels know of the same. Alternatively, you can stick to conventional emails and update the information on your business website.
Encourage the Use of Gift Cards
If your business is in the hospitality sector, chances are that by now you have run out of your debt fund and are in dire need of money. An efficient way of arranging a swift infusion of cash is by promoting your gift cards. Send out the word among your loyal customers that you are offering gift cards for purchase.
Your customers can purchase them now and redeem them later when the situation improves. You can offer festive discounts on gift cards to encourage people to make the purchase. Careful planning and smart utilization of the money from the gift cards will enable your business to stay afloat until the pandemic crisis is over.
Digitize Your Service
Businesses in the service sector can look to compensate for the loss of profit by identifying newer ways to make money online. These days, there are several free tools like Zoom, Google Duo, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc. that you can use to make yourself available virtually. Live videos are a decent alternative for therapists, doctors, tutors, personal trainers, and others who are finding it difficult to operate their business amidst the pandemic.
If your service vertical does not have room for live videos, you can always go for pay-and-use videos. In this, you need to look up ways in which you set up a paywall for your videos. To make sure that your customers are okay with paying for your service, try to price it lower than your regular services.
For example, if you are a salon owner, come up with paid videos wherein you demonstrate how to do root touch-up at home. Work on your video creation skills to make the video visually appealing.
That way, though you will be making less money than normal, you will still have enough to survive. Moreover, this will allow you to remain in touch with your customers making it easier for you to bounce back post the pandemic.
Human psychology dictates that your customers are more likely to purchase if the same is made available to them at a cheaper rate. Depending on your business model, try to offer some special discounts to customers opting for long terms subscriptions.
To encourage your customers to make their purchases through your e-commerce portal, offer an extra discount for online purchases. Try to offer free shipping during the pandemic. If that is not possible, opt for a discounted shipping.
You can also collaborate with local businesses (other than your competitors) wherein customers bringing a same-day receipt from your partner merchant gets a discount in your shop and vice versa. Such offers will be a win-win situation as the customer, you, and your partner merchant all stand to benefit monetarily from such an arrangement.
Organize Digital Events
As a growing business, you will be looking forward to celebrating milestones in your journey. Be it a store opening, anniversary, or the launch of a new product, your regular customers often look forward to the celebrations as much as you, and the pandemic is no reason for you to disappoint them. Being quarantined at home, they are craving for entertainment and if you can give it to them now, you will be laying the foundation of a lifetime of trust.
Direct your efforts in arranging a digital commemorative event. To encourage people to participate in the same, you can create a behind-the-scenes video of the event which you share with your customer email list. You can also offer a special discount to the first 10 customers who stream your event.
Offer giveaways wherein you distribute discount coupons among active participants. All of these will help you engage with your customers and ensure that they come to you during the pandemic and even afterward.
No matter how gloomy the situation may look right now, history is testimony to the fact that humans have risen above all challenges, and there is no reason for COVID-19 to be any different. As a business, you must look for ways to engage your customers and sow the seeds of goodwill. For like everything else, this too shall pass and your efforts today will decide where your business stands at the other side of the pandemic.