Trying to predict the future is impossible because things are rapidly changing on a global scale—the speed of the next wave of disruption is truly unprecedented.
But let’s focus on positives. We owe it to ourselves to take a deep breath and think through what brands can do right now to help ensure customer success in whatever plot twists the future holds.
6 Tips to Maintain Positive Connections With Customers Through Turmoil
1. Be Transparent About Your Brand’s Motives
Data suggests younger customers trust certain brands more than news outlets for information on current events. Not every brand is comfortable or able to be that type of entity to their customers, nor should all brands feel they need to be. No matter the motive, be transparent with customers about your mission and goals. An ongoing communication plan makes sure customers always understand the brand’s stance.
2. Listen to Your Employees & Work Hard to Meet Their Needs
Most employees are struggling with mental health right now. Tragic global stimuli combined with high performance expectations at work can be increasingly hard to reconcile. I’ve definitely struggled making sense of it at times. A little humanity and grace go a long way if:
- Employees feel powerless and a plethora of other unresolved emotions.
- They have relatives or friends in danger they’re trying to protect.
- They question if what they do really matters.
Your front-line employees are balancing a lot of emotions, putting them at risk of not being able to support customers and deliver the brand’s promise. They are human after all. And that means they’ll respond well to employers who show true empathy and compassion. That might take many forms and be different for each brand. Help employees feel purpose, like the work they do matters.
And don’t guess what employees need. Survey them regularly to gauge wellbeing and see what needs they’d like met to feel heard and cared for on a social, emotional and psychological level.
3. Listen to Your Customers & Act on Good Information
Keeping a watchful eye on the changing needs of your customer base helps ensure you can act quickly to meet their needs. Improve customer experience through an evolving approach rooted in a good feedback loop and followed up with data-driven action.
Related: Customer experience is more than just a survey. It’s a state of mind. Learn 8 steps to mature your VoC initiatives.
4. Continue Initiatives Meant to Improve the Customer Relationship
The disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic created new customer segments for brands, and many brands have launched initiatives to alter or improve loyalty and/or engagement programs. While the adjustments are necessary, you also have to account for flexibility (you never know when a once-in-a-hundred-years moment will occur). Nimbleness will be the trait of winning brands over the next decade.
5. Create More Positive Brand Experiences
I am a staunch supporter of the idea there is still more goodness in the world than badness (yes, that’s a Caddyshack reference). It’s easy to get bogged down with negativity and that’s why positive brand experiences have such a meaningful impact.
A surprisingly positive interaction with a brand can be jarring, in a good way. The mileage brands get from creating positive experiences is quantifiable through social momentum, retention statistics and increased customer value. Positive touches can be small things like encouraging empathy and compassion from your employees toward customers to big surprise-and-delight rewards for unsuspecting customers.
6. Keep Your Focus on How to Help Customers
Most organizations have probably questioned if they should respond to the latest hot topic or not. In the event of uncertainty, don’t panic. Sometimes, less is more for your brand. As long as our society continues to be built on supply and demand, people need what brands sell and do. Just be real about the value you’re bringing to your customers.
Focus on amplifying what drew customers to your brand in the first place—a product, service or how you treat customers. What originally appealed to them is how they identify with your brand.
Every day, our clients focus on fostering customer relationships that withstand disruption whether they’re considering what to build into a future loyalty program, finding the right balance of positive brand experiences or uncovering what employees need most from the brand.
Not sure where to start with your customer loyalty program? Contact our customer experience experts to begin consultation, data analysis and actionable recommendations.