To come out of lockdown safely and effectively over the coming months and increase your Sales Growth, your business needs a Strategic Plan. Businesses need to proactively split their budget and time across both attracting and keeping customers. Otherwise, any marketing spend will be like pouring expensive bottled water into a cracked bucket. Here are the Top 8 Tips for Sales Growth After Lockdown to ensure that Understanding Customer Needs is at the heart of your business.
1.. MEET YOUR CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS
Having alternative means of selling and reaching customers can help your Sales Growth. This includes the merging of phone orders, online orders and deliveries.
Explore how you could make changes to your offers or operations to support your business moving forwards. If you’ve recently made a pandemic transition to the digital world, consider how you will maintain that as a potential service for your customers, in combination with your onsite operations.
2.. STAY SAFE AND MOVE ON
Workplaces are expected to follow guidance on becoming “COVID secure” by carrying out risk assessments and following health and safety guidelines. Your Business Growth After Lockdown plan needs to take these all into account with a focus on Understanding Customer Needs for Sales Growth.
You should be aware of which safety measures can be put in place to protect customers and staff, such as clear signage, floor markings and contactless payments. When you have ticked all the safety and regulation boxes, you have cleared the way to focus on the business and your customers. Make safety and regulations part of your system and processes rather than an additional task.
3.. CHECK IF YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT SOMETHING DIFFERENT NOW
Following lockdown, what your customers used to want, or even wanted during lockdown, might not be what they want now. Lockdown forced people to behave completely differently and their needs and wants changed as a result. As a result, many businesses went to huge efforts to adapt to meet these needs. But now lockdown is lifting, things aren’t necessarily going straight back to what they were. This is partly because:
(A) The Environment is Still Different
That is, with some restrictions still in place, new guidelines in force and we’re even seeing examples of local lockdowns, which means many customers simply can’t go back to how they were before.
(B) People Have Had Time to Question Their Old Habits
In spite of the inconvenience of lockdown, many people have found some positives they’d like to keep. And consequently, they are choosing to engage differently with businesses. The best way to understand what your customers want now, or are likely to want in the future, is to get to know them (where it feels natural and appropriate) and to ask them.
You can chat directly with individual customers face-to-face, over the phone or by email and ask them for their thoughts and ideas. Or, to get a wider sample, you can use your social media pages or email database to run a quick poll or link to an online survey. Once you have done that, gather the feedback and use it to help you answer the following questions:
- What will give customers a good reason to stay with you? Perhaps it’s a more comprehensive product range, a more environmentally friendly and ethical product, delivery service, or a guarantee of priority service in case of future lockdowns.
- Should you still offer any of the new options you provided during lockdown? If you switched from face-to-face to virtual business, will some customers now want these instead of going forward?
- Do you need to change your processes, product range or pricing? If you have to introduce a delivery charge to maintain profitability, can you improve the whole delivery service, so customers feel it’s reasonable to pay?
- Do your customers have any new needs that could provide a new opportunity? In this instance, it might be worth considering diversifying what you offer.
4.. THANK CUSTOMERS (AND NEVER ‘GUILT’ THEM)
Most customers appreciate being thanked and this is something else that businesses can do to retain current customers as well as show loyalty to new ones. At the core of Understanding Customer Needs is showing them their value.
(A) Who To Thank
You may want to thank different customers in different ways:
- all customers on every order or transaction
- regular and long-term customers
- high-value customers
- those who have supported directly or indirectly – for example; through positive reviews, social media comments, constructive feedback, etc.
(B) How To Thank Them
While an automated email thank you is still worthwhile, a personal ‘thank you’ has a real impact. This needs a little time but hardly any budget. What matters here is authenticity – genuine thought and care.
Thank Customers Face-to-Face: Make a point when they’re next at the till, or you’re in a video conference, of thanking them for their support and how valuable it’s been. It’s also a good opportunity to ask for any feedback.
A Hand-Written Note: Digital channels are increasingly important but sometimes a real personal touch like this can have more cut-through, especially if the message references something specific to the customer and what they buy from you.
Surprise Gifts: The key thing here is the surprise! This doesn’t need to be expensive. It’s about the gesture and ideally something you know the customer would appreciate. For example, a luxury chocolate, a small bag of sweets, some free samples, or an extra item of something your customer regularly buys. If it’s a proper surprise, it doesn’t create an expectation that you do this every time. To complement the personal approach many businesses also look to build loyalty programmes. These can be as simple as promotions or discounts for regular customers.
(C) Avoid Guilt
Remember – customers do not view businesses as charities and will only stick with them if they offer what they want and need and put them at the heart of the service.
5.. MAKE IT EASY TO DO BUSINESS WITH YOU
The key to Understanding Customer Needs is to make sure those needs are met. Even if you offer the most amazing product or service, customers will be reluctant to stay if it’s hard to carry out basic transactions. Make sure you understand how your customers want to interact with you when they choose and pay for your product or service. Whether that’s face-to-face, over the phone, or online.
6.. ENSURE STAFF UNDERSTAND THEIR IMPORTANT ROLE
The key to success is ensuring that all customers have a consistent welcoming experience every time they transact with you. Therefore, every member of staff must fully understand and implement the business’ value proposition. Staff bring valuable insights and ideas to improve customer service. So remember to ask them for feedback as often as you ask your customers, and involve them in shaping and owning the overall approach.
7.. ADD UP THE NUMBERS
It’s important to consider the levels of sales you are forecasting, as it might take some time for demand to pick up. Your sales could be limited by the reduced volume of people due to social distancing. Look at ways you can encourage sales, such as discounts or incentives. If you’re an onsite business, you will likely want to drive sales by encouraging people back into your store or offices. But also remember to maintain boosting your online presence – many people will still continue their virtual habits.
8.. MAKE THE MOST OF TECHNOLOGY
Putting technology and integrated payments at the heart of your business could deliver a better customer experience, reduce errors and improve inventory management. Keep your customers informed via social media. Also, shift your marketing focus to provide a combination of online and in-store offers. You could also upload videos of your products and services online, allowing the customer to browse without the need to be in the store.
All your training is tailored to your team and can be delivered virtually or F2F Onsite.
Gather your team and we will take care of the rest – learning and laughs included.
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