Customer is the genesis of any business. Without a customer, a business is like a body without a soul. Amidst the prevalent COVID-19 pandemic and the prevalent socio-economic turbulence, it becomes an imperative for any business to adapt according to the changed needs, expectations and preferences of its customers. Your employees are your greatest assets, and they need to understand how their customers have changed the first and the foremost. With a sense of ownership towards the business, they ought to empathize with their customers before they set off to serve them. We take a look at how customers have re-prioritized themselves in the wake of the existing dynamism, and how you can serve them better as a business.
- Remote communication and transactions are preferred: Your customers would take all the necessary precautions against the pandemic, just like you. As such, the manner in which business happens between your organization and the customer’s organization needs to change accordingly. Virtual meetings and remote dealings are the way to go, as also the e-delivery of materials and products. Payments too are better off digitally than in physical mode, and of course, the hitherto standard handshakes and physical meetings are a big no-no. Video conferencing, skype calls and digital documentation and signatures form the way to go. Same goes for contracts, agreements and memorandums of understanding, that are better off replaced by their e-versions.
- They expect a digital CRM platform: Your customers are no longer appeased by your sales reps meeting them personally, something that they’d best avoid given the current scenario. Yes, the relationship remains intact, however the medium changes to the digital and the cloud. Your sales reps would still receive calls from them and vice versa, however, the buck would stop there – smart discussions, prompt decisions, a quick yes, a frank no and so on. Everything would shift online, including product demos, requirement gathering, functional specifications, service delivery and back-end support. Salesforce.com as a proven CRM platform is already seeing enhanced endorsements amidst the prevalent situation and forms the answer to your customer servicing and relationship management needs.
- They’d let go of what’s not essential: Yes, you got it right. Your ticket size could come down with everyone including your customers looking to focus on the essentials first. While things become simpler and sorted out for both of you as a result, the scenario offers you the opportunity to pursue higher quality in your products and more innovation in your processes. Yes, bringing delight to the customer becomes a more uphill task, as the pandemic takes its toll on the global socio-economic fabric. In some cases, the customer could even stop ordering your existing product and present a demand for entirely something else. They’d also look out more for the ways in which your employees treat them while extending service, as also your knack to honour the deadlines committed beforehand.
- They’d expect more specificity and meticulousness: Yes, your customer might stick around to your core product offering and let go of the optional ancillary offerings. They’d expect your front-line as well as support staff to be more courteous, prepared and empathetic with them. A greater sense of professionalism would prevail, as everyone including your customers scout to take care of their own top-lines and bottom-lines before anything else. For a change, you’d the compelled to think much more about your customer’s customer than ever before. A sense of cautiousness and prudence would prevail, and your prior bonding with the customer as well as the manner in which customer needs have changed determine the future of your association and business with them.
- They’d be on a look out for alternatives: As economies shrink and industries scout to reinvent themselves, more contenders vouch for the same pie share than ever before. Innovation and quality along with your knack for smart leverage on technology thus play a key role here. Your sales reps would need to work harder to retain and engage their customers, as also the marketing people, who’d need to innovate upon their campaigns and overall strategy a great deal. Your competitors would pose a greater threat as your business would need to work on its SWOT well in advance. Along with product and service, the overall experience that you present to your customers would play a greater role in determining how far your customer goes with you. Your leaders and key employees might need to brainstorm and work out a strategy to mitigate the risk of customer attrition along with engaging the committed ones.