The Covid pandemic impacted families, nations, and economies across the globe. For two years the world was thrown into a sense of chaos and panic. However, since the beginning of the year, most nations and economies are slowly limping back to a sense of normalcy – a newly defined idea of normalcy that is.
For many businesses, this period has spelled doom. As if the suddenness of it all, the loss of business, the disruptions, and the hard stop on a lot of business activities weren’t enough, even after reopening, most businesses are struggling with just staying in the business.
Right now most businesses, find themselves struggling with winning back customers. Rebuilding their lost customer base is proving to be a major challenge.
What is required is a well-thought-out strategy and a proactive approach to boost sales and win back lost customers.
Here are 7 strategies that small and local businesses can apply to win back their customers.
1. Customer Research and Customer Feedback
You can only start to come up with a strategy to win back customers when you know what your customers want and what their expectations post-pandemic are.
Start by collecting customer feedback and get down to good old customer research.
The pandemic changed us all – your customers are no different. So unless you know what they want and expect you won’t get far.
Reach out to all your old customers and find out why they left. Once you have this insight, it will give you an idea of why they left and how you can win them back.
Do you have customers who were with you even through the pandemic? If yes, then that’s great news. Don’t forget to include them in your research – ask them why they decided to stay loyal to your brand through the pandemic.
These are all insights that will help you win back your lost customers and they will also help you plan how to win new customers.
2. Identify your Target Market
Post-pandemic, customer expectations have changed. So you will notice that now you’re your customers are very different. Perhaps your target market has changed.
Remember, the pandemic changed customer behavior, it changed how people make buying decisions, and it changed their preferences.
If this is the case then you will need to reevaluate your target market. You will have to identify your “new deal customer” in this new market space.
You might also have to reconsider your product and service offerings and relook your marketing brand engagement strategies.
You may also find that customers want to do business online as opposed to visiting your business in person. Have you made provisions for connecting with a wider digital audience?
Use these insights to make course corrections and see how best you can reconnect with your older customers.
3. Is Poor Communication Hurting your Business?
Poor communication with customers can do great damage to any business.Shipping delays, change in shipping policies, or change in your service and product policies should be communicated to all your customers.
Understandably, some degree of confusion and delays were unavoidable during the lockdown periods. However, if you have lost customers repeatedly because of poor communication from your end, then you should revisit your company’s communication strategy.
Look for loopholes and areas where urgent tweaks and changes are necessary. Revamp your communication policy and communicate the same to your customers.
Connect with old customers who left you because of a communication issue, apologize for previous delays, and see if you can get them to engage with your brand again.
4. Focus on Improving your Customer Service
One of the primary reasons why customers decide to leave a brand is because of poor customer service.
Delivering stellar customer service experiences is critical to brand building. The customer service experience you offer can help differentiate your brand from the competition.
Find out if your customer service chain is broken or needs tweaks. Unless your customers find connecting with your business seamless and transparent, they are not going to hang around for long.
While you are reevaluating your customer service process, consider how you can include greater personalized customer experiences with your brand.
In the new market space, personalization is the key to winning customers and more importantly retaining them.
5. Dealing with Inflation
We are living in times where inflation is inevitable – prices are going up and there is very little that you or anyone else can do in this situation.
Although most businesses will want to try and stick to their old prices, it is impossible. The price of goods and services is going up and your customers are aware of it too. If you do have to increase prices, then also look at ways and means in which you can deliver more value to your customers. It will help you justify the increase in prices. But knowing that they are getting more value for their money spent will help in softening the blow of higher prices.
You might also want to consider a new discount program or loyalty program to encourage buying. Customers will be more inclined to spend if they know they are getting something extra for the price that they are paying.
Discounts and loyalty programs that offer value for money are a great way to win both new and old customers.
6. Plan Events or Activities to Attract Customers
If possible, you might want to consider hosting an event such as a special promotional event or a bargain or discount sale to attract customers.
You can send special invites to your old customers asking them to visit you and join in the event. You could also plan a special event for your top customers – the idea is to make your customers feel special and appreciated. If an in-person event is not possible, then consider doing a virtual or online event for your customers.
A special discount program for old customers or returning customers can go a long way in winning back your old customers while also showing new customers that you care.
7. Show your Commitment to the Health and Safety of Customers
Safety and health protocols cannot be compromised at any cost. For virtual stores, this should not present a big challenge. However, for retail businesses, getting back customers might be difficult. This is especially true of customers who have health conditions that put them at greater risk of infections.
So make sure your store/office has all the safety protocols in place. Let customers know about the health and safety initiatives that you have in place and that you are committed to ensuring their safety is a top priority with your business.
For small and local businesses that depend on repeat customers, winning back old customers is critical. Ensuring your customers stay loyal to your business is becoming increasingly difficult. However, it is not impossible. It will require some planning, time, and effort on your part. While these strategies will help, when winning back old customers, the one thing that matters is a sincere effort on your part. If your customers can see that, chances are they will be more willing to come back to your business.