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Customer retention strategies to combat the effects of COVID-19

March 23, 2020 - Kate Crowther

COVID-19 has already had a serious impact on the economy this week and experts predict a significant downturn as we go into the second quarter of the year.

There is some optimism however with China reporting no new cases of coronavirus and Boris Johnson remaining optimistic that we could be recovering in twelve weeks.

Until then, many businesses have gone into survival mode and are reducing expenditure where possible. Besides, there is more emphasis on marketing efforts to be cost-effective and to generate as much impact per pound as possible. 

In this blog, we’ll discover practical marketing techniques to improve customer retention through digital channels:

Great customer service – surprise and delight your customers with great customer service. Every touchpoint with your business should be customer-centric and make customers feel valued. Businesses need to show appreciation to their customers through their tone of voice and communications. This stretches from customer value proposition to website experience, right through to order processing communication and even your complaints procedure.

Set expectations – the pressure is on many industries and supply chains to deliver products. Be clear and set expectations with customers so that they are fully informed on stock levels and delivery dates or changes to service. Many businesses have released statements around changes to working practices such as closing physical stores or team working from home. Transparency and assurances around services or loss of service can boost brand loyalty and customer retention.

Marketing automation – hand in hand with expectation setting, automated communications such as planned and triggered emails can save budget in manpower and also ensure customers are fully informed on changes to the business, reassurances on service availability and working practices. 

Flexibility and support – to retain future brand loyalty many businesses are offering flexibility on their terms. This is particularly apparent in the wedding industry where many couples have been forced to postpone their nuptials. Rather than holding them to account in line for terms many businesses have proposed new terms and highlighted their willingness to be flexible and supportive. In terms of securing future business and upholding service-driven reputations, they are onto a winner. 

Reward loyalty – incentivising repeat business can be effectively harnessed by rewarding loyalty. For instance, discounted subscriptions can motivate website visitors to commit to more than a one-off purchase. There are possibilities technically to implement subscriptions through many eCommerce platforms and plugins which can make this a cost-effective enhancement to your website. 

Customer reviews – reinforcing great customer service and social proofing is always a good booster for trade and in tricky times it’s all the more important to get the edge over competitors. Customer review platforms such as Trust Pilot, Reviews.co.uk and FEEFO all offer easy integration and validate trust and service. 

Be more than a business – brands can generate loyalty through their value and meaning, super successful brands connect with their customers beyond transactions. Many businesses have adapted to the COVID-19 crisis by pooling their resources to support the communities they serve. In terms of brand positioning, this can propel a company’s profile and brand values to resonate with existing and future customers. In terms of reach, philanthropic stories shape brands and can result in social sharing that generates valuable PR opportunities and exposure. For instance, London-based delicatessen chain, Lina Stores have switched operational strategy to raise funds to feed desperate Londoners has generated exposure far and wide – from significant influencers such as Laura Jackson through to Timeout magazine – their profile has had a major boost.

Content generation – as people are self-isolating audiences are evermore captive on the internet. The pandemic is so unprecedented and touches the lives of everyone globally. As a result, there is a real thirst for information that is driving people online to understand the implications for them. Be that from a social or economic standpoint there is an opportunity for brands to generate content around the pandemic and their offering or viewpoints. 

Social media – following on from content generation, across all sectors people are connecting on social media. As people become more isolated social media provides human interaction and can be a comfort to many. Whether content is community-driven, helpful, uplifting or even humorous it can provide a welcome connection to audiences and allow brands the opportunity to remain in the mind’s eye of customers and potential customers. It’s imperative to stay in tune with the discourse of your customers on social media, to connect with their feelings and involve in their conversations.  

Do you need a hand creating reactive strategies? Speak to one of our experts today. Fifteen Design is an award-winning digital agency with years of experience creating and carrying out effective digital marketing campaigns.

Kate Crowther

Kate Crowther

Client Services Director

Kate is our Client Services Director and her work is focussed on making sure clients are happy!

Focussed on strategic marketing, digital marketing, website delivery and app development, Kate has over eight years experience in digital and has worked with some of the UK’s biggest brands. 

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