Business and workplace practices have changed dramatically over the past 12 months, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. The effect has been felt on everyone – from workers to CEOs.
The disruption and change caused by the pandemic have had a clear impact on customer behaviour, confidence and financial stability. Therefore, it is vital that businesses in Edinburgh do what they can to help support customers through these difficult times.
Here are some of the best ways your business can be there for your customers when they need you most.
Put Yourself In Your Customer’s Shoes
Having empathy for your customers is one of the best ways to help you connect with customers during challenging times. Many consumers are struggling financially in one way or another. Putting yourself in their shoes will help you understand how your customers want to engage with you and ensure that you show that you are empathetic to their situations.
Showing a human face to your business can have an incredible impact on customer loyalty and engagement. Show your customers that you care about them, avoiding aggressive advertising, which can come across as tone-deaf during challenging times.
Thank Loyal Customers
If your customers have stuck with you throughout the pandemic, it may help for you to find ways to thank them for their loyalty. This could be in the form of a thank you email, an offer or a discount. Let your customers know that you are there for them, and signpost them to any resources and help they may benefit from.
With many businesses going online, thanks to the pandemic, it is essential to show your customers that you are pragmatic and responsible with their data. Cybersecurity is more crucial than ever. Showing your customers that you are a safe and dependable company to work with is vital. With more of our lives lived online now, showing that you have robust cyber security in place can help to reassure your customers that their data and money is safe with you.
It may also help to get in touch with recent customers to inform them how you are taking steps to ensure safety, both physically and digitally. With unessential shops set to start reopening in the coming weeks, this could involve details of your plans to ensure proper hygiene and social distancing when they can shop with you again.
Be Open And Available
During difficult times it is more important than ever that your customers be able to contact you. While it may be tricky to ensure you get in touch with every customer, you should ensure that your customer service team are equipped to deal with the demand of customers trying to contact you.
One excellent way to ensure this is by upgrading your internet connectivity and phone systems. Lightning-fast broadband and smooth phone lines are crucial to allow your customers to get in touch as quickly and efficiently as possible.
It may also help to be transparent about how you are operating throughout the pandemic. Removing any uncertainty around how you are dealing with the pandemic can help to improve customer confidence.
An excellent way to foster goodwill and improve customer experience is by extending expiry dates on customer loyalty schemes. With many businesses being closed for months at a time, customers have not had the opportunity to buy products or services. Extending offers and loyalty schemes can help ease the stress that many customers are feeling.
You could also consider extending payment deadlines or offering flexible payment plans to customers who are struggling financially. The pandemic is no one’s fault, so showing your customers that you will not penalise them during tough times will foster loyalty and mutual respect. While it is important to ensure that your business is paid for the work you do, adding some flexibility and empathy into the payment process can have an incredible impact on your business’s reputation.
Do Good Work In The Community
You could also consider the ways that you can have a positive impact on your local community. This could be in the form of raising money for a charity, donating much-needed items to food banks or volunteering your time to local causes. Giving back to the community will not only increase your business’s profile as a company that cares but will also provide much-needed support to local people.
You could also consider partnering with a local charity to help you direct your efforts where they are most needed.
Support Other Local Businesses
By shopping locally on a personal and professional level, you will help to stimulate the local economy. This is the best way to help customers and businesses in Edinburgh get back on their feet. You could consider finding new local suppliers for your business dealings and advertise any jobs you have to local candidates.
Thinking about the bigger picture and the economy as a whole is an excellent way to help customers. A more robust economy means more jobs, and this will allow people to get back on their feet and start shopping with you again.
Here at Texaport, we are committed to providing local services to Edinburgh businesses. Our commitment to the community is a crucial element of our company ethos, and we are always looking for ways to support our local partners and clients.
Share Engaging And Entertaining Content
We all need something to raise our spirits now and then, even more so during the pandemic. You might consider creating uplifting and engaging content for social media and your website to provide entertainment for your customers.
This could be in the form of educational videos or even silly and fun competitions. Raising spirits among customers and the community, in general, is essential, particularly as we pass the anniversary of the first lockdown. Many people understandably feel emotionally spent with the stress and worry of the past year, so providing engaging content can help raise spirits.
You could consider starting a blog for your business, a podcast or even posting daily motivational and inspiring quotes to brighten your social media followers’ day.
Give Support To Your Employees
It could help to ensure that you are supporting your employees to the best of your ability. Employees are the backbone of any business, and ensuring that your people are happy, healthy and dedicated can improve the customer experience.
It may help to consider the different options you have for flexible working, to ensure that your staff have a good work-life balance. This can significantly improve employee productivity and engagement. One way that we have all been hearing more about over the past 12 months is remote working. If you haven’t already, you could consider setting up your business to enable remote work.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on businesses across all sectors. This, in turn, has had a significant impact on customers and financial stability. There are many ways that Edinburgh’s business community can reach out and support customers during these challenging times.
Empathy with customers and their situations is crucial. You may wish to experiment with some of the different methods of supporting customers above to find the ones that work best for your business.