Part 4 : CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS
In our continuing series, we’re considering the need to re-evaluate your business model coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fourth quarter is an ideal time to think about how you can implement improvements to existing processes (or create new processes) to better nurture and engage customers.
As we work through various aspects of a traditional business model structure, the challenge is to look for opportunities to improve profits, innovate, pivot, evaluate your competition post-crisis, review your value proposition, and consider your key resources.
In this segment, we’ll look at CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS.
It’s important that you are clear about what type of relationship you want with each of your customer segments. This includes acquisition, retention, and referrals. Without clarity in how you develop and nurture these relationships, it becomes easy to let them fall by the wayside. This is especially true during times of crisis, and during crisis is often when it’s needed the most.
A very simple example from the pandemic is the company’s ability to pivot quickly. Businesses who maintained ongoing relationships and contact with clients throughout the year were much better equipped for a quick pivot when COVID19 hit. Having robust email databases (or text message lists) and ongoing interaction with clients made it easier for many businesses to notify clients about short notice changes in hours, social distancing requirements, and operational changes, as well. Companies without this asset couldn’t pivot as quickly, and some not at all.
How did your company fare with customer relationships during COVID-19?
Some questions to consider:
- What changes can you make going forward as a result of challenges you faced, or successes you experienced?
- Consider businesses of which you are the customer. What would you have like to see handled differently? What can you learn from being on the other side of the equation?
- Did you have a current customer list that allowed you to quickly communicate via text or email about important business changes?
- If your team had to work from home, did you have a system in place to maintain the level of customer service that you had pre-COVID19?
- Are there any automations that might have helped you better stay in communication with existing customers during the crisis?
- Are there automatization that might have helped you maintain pre-COVID19 acquisition rates?
These are all important questions.
The Customer Relationships building block of your business model doesn’t happen automatically. Frankly, it’s often the most neglected aspect of business models. Companies that prioritize systems and training in this area are the stand-outs – the ones who gain a lot of loyalty and referral business.
In his book, “Never Lose a Customer Again,” Joey Coleman goes into depth about how to design a stellar customer experience plan. He starts with the premise that “customer service” and “customer experience” are two very different things. Customer service is reactive, whereas customer experience is proactive. He goes on to outline 8 phases of the customer journey and how you can proactively create a customer experience in each phase to ultimately develop a raving fan.
This could be a game-changer for your business coming out the COVID-19 crisis. We highly recommend this valuable read!
As you work through the exercise of re-assessing your CUSTOMER RELTATIONSHIPS, start with what you had. Then think about how you had to pivot to survive. What can you begin to implement now that would prevent these challenges going forward and better improve your customer relationships through ALL phases of the customer journey?
If you’re ready to take your business and leadership skills to the next level, and if you think your business could benefit from more insights like what’s offered in this article, let’s start a conversation. LXCouncil may be the perfect next step!