The Coronavirus World Makes Customer Relationships Tougher.
Is there anything that you could do to improve your current situation?
Our world has been upended almost overnight. Some business owners and customer support teams might not even have a clear understanding of what their clients need right now.
If you are a business owner, you might find it difficult to assess the actions that will serve both your company and the business community at large.
Small businesses owners and their core employees are most likely fearful. Your organization has worked hard to bring the company to whichever level of success it has achieved. It could feel as if you were to lose it all.
How can you strengthen or maintain relationships with your clients when personal interaction has almost disappeared? How can you keep your organization relevant?
We have read an article published by the Harvard Business Review about the topic that we found pretty interesting and has inspired us to write about this topic. We will share some of the article’s recommendations for customer relationships success.
How can you support your client base and reassure your long term commitment to the relationship?
Strengthening the bond and collaboration is the key. If we could imagine a strong vendor-client relationship as links connected in a chain, the following cues will be helpful.
Build this First Link: Be vulnerable
Your company is no more than a representation of the individuals working in it. There are actually people paying attention to your client’s needs. Your clients want to know that your organization is compassionate and that you are having empathy towards them. When your loyal customers can feel a sense of humanity and understanding coming from your end, one of the links that holds the relationship becomes stronger.
Build this Second Link: Be open about what is changing and how
Covid makes it difficult both for your organization and for your clients to maintain a “normal” operation. Procedures might change. It might be difficult to tap into the resources that are usually available.
Be open about what you consider to be new opportunities, and about your restrictions that you are experiencing as well. Inform about changes in hours and customer service availability. Understand what your client’s restrictions are. What keeps them awake at night under current circumstances. What is affecting their bottom line and how sharing information could help both parties. An open dialog will build customer loyalty for a long time to come.
Be proactive, open and clear.
Your second link is becoming solid.
Build this Third Link: Your company is there for the long term
Reassure your clients that your company and your team will be there for them. Your company will likely continue to provide the goods or services that link you together.
As soon as your clients feel and believe that they can count on you, that your support is for real, they can free some of their own resources and focus their energy into other priorities.
That is the moment in which you have secured another link.
Build this Fourth Link: Be extra-creative by a large margin.
There is a saying that reminds us that some of the brightest and most innovative ideas came to live in times of upheaval and chaos,
Likewise your organization has the potential to outdo itself and its competition. Unleash the creativity of your team and make it a way-of-life for your organization in times to come. Not only your clients will be delighted, but the inner strength and resilience of your company will place it a few steps ahead.
When your clients see that talent in action, you are then securing another link in the relationship for a long time to come.
Sunny Days During the Stormy Season
Nobody can predict at this time what will happen in the near future and what the long time effect of this crisis is. It is still unknown to all of us. Even the scientific community is uncertain. Whatever the outcome is, with your links more solid than ever, new opportunities will uncover themselves and.become part of your upcoming road.
At our organization, we have been supported by some of our vendors. In turn, we have supported our clients, checked with them and became available. Because we have established personal relationships with so many of our clients they knew that they could count on us and we counted on them.
We have seen how some of our clients have shared their growth plans with us and started to execute those plans. One of our clients saw an opportunity to expand its property management and developed a new entire business. Another client in the restaurant business retooled its operation to adapt his restaurant to better serve the community. Our company has been blessed by clients that have allowed us to be part of their needs during this time.
ColorCopiesUSA.com has been open for service while many of our competitors were not. Buyers would call and ask with concern “Are you still open?”. Our answer was always that we were there to support them.
Some vendors decided to protect themselves against risk, but others have helped us to develop a new line of canvas products that is close to release in a sustained level of cooperation that is remarkable.
Strengthen the links as much as you can and hopefully once this period is over, we’ll be stronger than before.