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6 strategies to retain customers and rebuild loyalty after COVID

by | Aug 5, 2021 | Public Relations

The scenarios for businesses are expected to change drastically after COVID. While the world battles hard to stop the spread of the virus, businesses worldwide are on a quest to understand the sentiments of their customers and digging into how to rebuild trust and retain them.

To gain their trust, confidence, and loyalty, you will need to be true to your brand and its very purpose. This starts with putting your customers first. You will need to act as a brand that genuinely cares for its customers.

This blog offers some useful tips for customer retention by rebuilding customer loyalty.

Consistency in online communications

Online communications involve posting social media updates and sending emails to customers. A large number of small and medium businesses paused their online marketing at the onset of the pandemic.

6 strategies to retain customers and rebuild loyalty after COVID

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If you did that too, now is the time to restart it. And if you continued your social media and emails during COVID, keep it up and do it with consistency.

Though, the tone of your communications should not be same as that of pre-pandemic era. You don’t have to market your brand aggressively. You can send communication to inform the customer about your availability or the availability of a product he added in his cart last week.

Overly promotional content could be annoying for some users. Rather, you should try to connect and empathize with them.

Communicate with them on a regular basis. The pandemic has given us so many stories to share. Tell your stories via your communications, and listen to the stories of your customers too. This is the foundation of building trust with fellow humans!

Send gift cards with promotional offers

6 strategies to retain customers and rebuild loyalty after COVID

Pandemic or not—customers love gifts. Create a strategy for e-gift card program to lower the risk of human contact and increase engagement and conversion. This would require the gift card to offer attractive deals or discounts to the customer.

This strategy should be woven keeping your industry and how your business runs in mind. For example: if you are an ecommerce business like Amazon, then your gift cards can be “get N% cash back on purchase of N item(s)” or “get $100 gift card for each referral”.

6 strategies to retain customers and rebuild loyalty after COVID

Another example: restaurants can offer gift cards to their customers for orders exceeding certain amount or to those sending referrals or those coming through referrals. You can finalize a deal with your food delivery partners and ask them to accept gift cards from their customers. This could be a great way to keep customers engaged and win their attention and eventually, loyalty.

Omnichannel customer service

Customers feel extremely frustrated when they are asked to verify their name, contact details, and concerns related to your products or service repeatedly, at different stages.

Here’s an example to help you understand the complexity. Say, a customer raises a refund request for an item he purchased last week from your online store. He has already provided his name, order details, contact details, and list down the issue(s) he is facing with the product.

Now someone from your customer service team calls him to understand the issue further. And the customer is asked to provide his details again. A couple of days later, your customer service manager wants to speak to the customer, and again the customer is asked to provide those details.

With an effective omnichannel customer service mechanism, you can resolve this frustration too. This allows your team members and managers to stay on the same page while resolving a customer’s query or concern. It saves you time and makes the customer feel valued.

6 strategies to retain customers and rebuild loyalty after COVID

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To set up omnichannel customer service in your process, you will need to bring your marketing, sales, and customer service together and connect them with all touch points via a common dashboard. In addition, train them to log each interaction with the customer, so next time the communication doesn’t start from zero.

Resolve the issues of unsatisfied customer first

Your customer service team should be trained to work on unsatisfied or dissatisfied customers proactively, as they are the negative promoters of your brand. They spread bad words about your products and discourage others to buy from you.

If they post about their experience with your brand on Google My Business or on social, it might have a negative impression on your consumers.

The best practice here is to resolve the queries and concerns of unhappy customers at the earliest. Put every effort to please them, and in turn, this will win you their trust. This puts a picture forward that you care for your customers.

6 strategies to retain customers and rebuild loyalty after COVID

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Another reason why you should focus on resolving the issues of unsatisfied customers is that their negative remarks on social media may have a direct impact on your website’s search engine ranking.

Reward loyal customers

To strengthen your bond with customers, there should be a strategic provision to reward loyal customers. As a part this program, you can send gift cards, promotional codes, and free gifts to your loyal or long-time customers.

You should offer a free gift that none of your competitors are offering and something your customers would love to use. For this, you can peep into the buying and browsing history of a customer.

To reward your loyal customers, there is no better time than their birthdays, anniversaries, and festivities. This makes the customer feel special amid the COVID crisis. They appreciate your brand among their peers and soon, they become your customer too.

You don’t have to be a large multi-billion-dollar company for running such campaigns. iCustomLabel is an online store that custom designs stickers and labels for individuals and organizations for different occasions. They pitch 10% off for customers who return and 20% off on the birthdays of their customers.

Offering loyalty reward doesn’t take much!

Send email that generate engagement

With your powerful emails, you can still reach the inbox and the mind of your customers. Emails give you a fair chance to retain them.

However, customers—especially amid the Coronavirus crisis – are not exactly looking for promotional emails. They want emails that provide value, they want a solution or product that eases or uplifts their lifestyle.

Even if a customer chooses to open your email, if it does not click with his needs, he would not click on the link you want him to.

You will need to create emails that are engaging and have something of value to offer. To increase customer retention, you might want to reconsider or alter your present email marketing strategy for a short period until the normalcy returns after COVID.

The offer in the email should be unique and attractive and the selection of words should be careful and motivating. The idea is to encourage the recipient to take a desired action i.e. to visit your website and make the purchase.

One last tip: make sure your emails are not too promotional!

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Birbahadur Singh Kathayat
Birbahadur Singh Kathayat is an entrepreneur, internet marketer and co-founder of Lbswebsoft, a digital marketing company. He has 13 years in digital marketing experience and helps some of the biggest companies build their brands and keep their reputation while increasing sales in the process. He is a writer and contributes on Socialmediaweek, Searchenginewatch and other publications.

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