Customer Relationship Comes First, Revenue Only Follows.

Updated: Jul 2, 2020




We can all speculate on the aftermath of the pandemic for small businesses and the challenges that entrepreneurs will face in maintaining their relationship with customers, in particular if they started off a few months before the confinement. There’s one thing for certain, the service that is being offered after the lockdown is of premium quality.


You know that feeling of getting the VIP spot at an event and being treated like you’re no less than Beyoncé. Well, this is basically the post confinement treatment that we’ve all been treated to.


Businesses have been challenged to better their customer service, it is pretty simple if you think about it, X and Y both offer delivery services, X’s delivery boy is rude to the customer and late, Y’s delivery boy was a few minutes early and was polite. Anybody in their right minds will prefer Y to X and would be more likely to order from them again. The pandemic has also allowed people to try various services and goods, mostly from local brands and helped them decide which brands will go on their lists and which will not. According to franchising.com, “A company’s customer experience plays a major role in how effectively it can weather a recession.” So, if you think you might replace one customer by hundreds of them later you are completely wrong. Customer service is vital right now.

A betterment in customer service has been noticeable since the lockdown, this can also be attributed to the fact that the purchasing power is mostly held by the working class who can afford small luxuries and takeout food. Work from home has been a means for consumers to review the service and goods provided to them- something, that would not have been possible during life prior to COVID-19 while working from 9-5.

Consistency should remain a priority i.e. if your service was excellent in March 2020 and is poor in September 2020, it will still be an issue, the same goes for what you post on social media and your current campaigns, your brand should only present a better version of itself with time passing by. Share your core beliefs, your values and vision, no matter how small you are with your audience. As we mentioned in “In community solidarity we trust.”, the pandemic has allowed space for growth and change, communication and inclusivity should be priorities if you wish to build a brand with a strong reputation.


Storytelling is definitely one of the most impactful ways of sharing your story while case studies enable your business to shed light on its products and services. For instance: if you are selling an innovative lip balm you can demonstrate how in winter skin with gloves on, yours is the best choice due to its ingredients and the fact that it is stored as a stick which makes it more practical than others. The point is to keep your audience hooked even when they are not looking for something to buy as when they decide to do so, they will probably pick your brand over another due to your level of engagement.


Investing in communication is a lot more relevant than advertising, your customers desire affiliating themselves to brands that can relate to them or reflect people like them in one way or another. Therefore, it is necessary for businesses to be flexible enough to accommodate changes when something primordial strikes us such as an unexpected pandemic, a raise in LGBT awareness and a resurgence of Black Lives Matter. Avoid unnecessary storytelling and focus on building a bond between your brand’s identity and your customers.

A recent article published on the WWD website reveals that younger generations are more prone to researching before purchasing in the months and years to come. What are they looking for? Mainly consistency between what is being said and what is being done or has been done behind the doors of those businesses. They wish to check whether those brands are committed to their beliefs or are just playing their part to be in line with the rest. And beware, there’s no playing around with social matters.

Find out more about how different brands responded to the BLM movement here:

https://wwd.com/business-news/retail/customers-respond-to-how-brands-react-to-black-lives-matter-movement-1203648574/

Pop up stores and participation in temporary markets will enhance the connection between your brand and customers, this is particularly beneficial when you do not actually have a physical space for displaying your products and rely 100% on social media for brand awareness. They allow you to discover who your customers are and to conduct a demographic which in turn this enables you to understand which products are the most enjoyed or which aspects of your business can be reviewed. And the good thing is that the investment is still low compared to having a full-fledged shop.



4 Ways to build a lifetime relationship with your customers?


· Start building your relationship with customers before launching your business. This will allow you to determine the prospects of your business and develop an initial relationship with potential customers that may lead to sales in the future. A good impression of your brand is a lasting one.


· Connect on social media platforms. Introduce yourself in Facebook groups that are related to your business or to entrepreneurship. Identify possible future partners. Build a strong rapport with the audience and other entrepreneurs. Facebook groups are much like small communities- people will invest in the products and services in which they are interested.


· Answer questions that are relevant to your products and services on all platforms. Use relevant sources and links to show how your brand can solve a particular issue. Win referrals as from the very start.


· If possible, invest in a CRM software- it will boost your customer relationship and it’s a great asset to handle your customer relationship- it can be used for surveys, which in turn can help you detect parts of your business that can be improved. It allows you to share pertinent stories and articles with your customers on a regular basis and identify the level of satisfaction of your customers and their queries.

Customer Lifetime Value ( CLV)

“There is now a growing awareness of the lifetime value of a customer.” David Barnes


In the 90s, companies were criticized for failing in increasing customer retention performance. You don’t have to be a Math expert to understand why it mattered. There is an increase in sales and profit per customer when the level of satisfaction is higher. As both drop, so do sales and profit. Customer satisfaction and purchase are in addition, relevant to the level of experience that a business acquires. Through experience, businesses are able to reduce their operating costs as they double in efficiency. Countless sources show that a company can increase its profitability when the customer relationship lasts over a year.


Author David Barnes has combined several methods to assess the lifetime value of a customer. The following components can be considered:


· The investment cost to attract and retain a customer. (Marketing, cost to serve…)

· Discount rate

· Gross margin

· Probability that the customer will buy again.

· The return rate of the company.

· The number of purchases made by the customer.

Address Negative Feedback

Reducing customer defection is substantial as dissatisfied customers are likely to badmouth a company if they are unhappy with a service or a product.

Many have even suggested implementing a recovery programme in order to reduce customer defection. Brands are expected to acknowledge their shortcomings and apologise to their customers when required, above all they are expected to take customer reviews into consideration and implement the necessary changes where plausible. A lot of the bad reviews, especially on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are most commonly due to the response time. It obviously matters whether or not the goods and services provided are of satisfactory quality, but brands such as Boohoo have suffered greatly from customer defection during the pandemic mainly due to their response time when returns had to be handled. A decent apology is key when your customers are unhappy with what you’ve offered. This is one of simplest ways to increase customer retention. It does not mean that this person will refer your business to his circle but at least they will spare your brand from being badmouthed which is sufficient to secure your reputation. To assume that customers are never wrong is a farfetched idea, nevertheless, when it comes to business during tough and even ordinary times, it is essential to adopt a kinder approach. Learning and understanding your customer’s needs is a must for survival. However, alignment of the business structure and operations is a necessary precondition for this to be achieved.

According to business2community.com 82% of shoppers search for negative reviews when looking up for a product or service. 4% of consumers felt like brands cared about them when they responded to a negative feedback. Reaching out to unhappy customers will help not stain the reputation of your brand.

Never get complacent

Think of it as a dating process. After one or two years of being in a relationship, you still need to keep the spark alive. Keep your audience hooked! Stay connected and listen to your customers’ requirements. Assess your customer relationship on a regular basis and above all, implement changes when required. Do not let your customer relationship stagnate.

Read and Research

The only reason you have access to Google is for you to acquire knowledge and be a smartass. If you cannot understand a concept, Google it, ask your friends to help you out or simply get a book on the subject. We would recommend reading “Relationship, Marketing and Customer Relationship Management “by Annekie Brink for the purpose of understand CRM. If you don’t enjoy reading or researching we would strongly advise you to listen to your customers, it is the best way to learn about your brand and get better at what you’re doing.


Pleasant Reading.


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