Building Customer Loyalty in a Time of Rapid Change

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Queues are common scenes these days. Physical distancing has businesses respond with clearly marked spots for lineups. Some tape arrows on the floor for directing in-store traffic. Call centres redirect customers to the business’ website for self-help. It is an inconvenience that requires customers to be patient and collaborative.

Despite the inconvenience, it is an opportunity to build loyalty when you keep customers top-of-mind in designing these changes. Otherwise, you would end up driving your customers to head for your competition.

Here are three areas to keep in mind for building customer loyalty during the time of rapid change.

  1. Service orientation

In incorporating the health guidelines, many businesses simply add the required measures to their existing operating procedures.

For example, a bank has a maximum capacity of twenty people. Inside the bank, three customers are served at a time due to the distancing requirement between tellers. There is room for a short queue inside too. Interestingly, there are three staff to manage the queues inside and outside!

As the queue builds up, the manager decides to have a staff who works in an office to act as a teller. At this point, the wait time is about 25 minutes. I call this poor planning and service.

With the twenty-people capacity constraint, it would have been logical to use a 1:1 customer to staff ratio as a base rationale for adapting the operations. This will maximize the number of customers served and minimize wait time. In this case, you would expect to see ten customers to be served at any time, rather than three.

Service needs to be a key determiner for how you design your processes.Service needs to be a key determiner for how you design your processes. Click To Tweet

  1. Customer engagement

Your customers face similar challenges with resource constraints and curtailed operations. They could use some advice on how to manage some of these issues.

Internal operations challenges and external market uncertainties could vary. Internal challenges might relate to process bottlenecks and scheduling for onsite work. External challenges might relate to customer dissatisfaction and shifting demands.

Reach out and learn more about how you could help. Share best practices actively and information that they could use to help their customers. During this time, empathy and support demonstrate that you care.

Meaningful engagement strengthens your relationship with customers.

  1. Exceptional website

Many unwilling customers might have finally converted to do more things online. For instance, banking and e-commerce.

This means your website needs to be informative, easy to navigate and helpful to the users. Users have a goal when they come to the website. They want to find an answer to their question or to complete a transaction.

As many have to juggle their professional and personal lives during this time, expediency is important. Make it easy to locate the information on the website. Make it simple if customers are expected to complete tasks on their own.

Though these seems like basic requirements for a website, many businesses continue to fumble. If customers can’t find what they are looking for, they won’t hesitate to go to your competition.

Customers who are satisfied with their interactions with your business will become evangelists.

While most people are generally more patient and accepting during this uncertain time, businesses that put themselves in the customer’s shoes will come out ahead. By doing so, you demonstrate that you value their time and business. You build trust and loyalty.

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