Customer retention during a pandemic (like the novel coronavirus) is key to business survival. According to reports, 40% of small businesses in the US fail due to natural disasters, with one in four of them closing down within a year thereafter.
The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated unprecedented responses from governments and businesses across the world, from total lockdowns to work from home directives.
Google, Shopify, and several other companies encouraged employees to work from home, with the latter allowing staff to go home with their work tools including PCs.
This is a novel approach to business operations and customer retention during a pandemic like COVID-19. Other businesses are also deploying customer service solutions to provide seamless customer experience.
But, not all businesses can have employees work remotely. This category is the worst hit.
This is why countries like Canada have instituted:
- Temporary income support of up to $900 fortnightly for up to 15 weeks
- Long-term income support (Emergency Support Benefit) program providing up to $5 billion in support
- Tax flexibility
- Family support
- Temporary wage subsidy for up to three months up to a maximum of $1, 375
- Business credit
- Liquidity support, etc.
Measures such as these will help businesses cushion the adverse effects of the coronavirus while it lasts. But by the time it passes, most businesses will pass with it for failing to implement customer retention best practices during a pandemic like COVID-19.
While there is widespread fear, self-isolation, social distancing, shutdowns, lockdowns and curfews, businesses must not go into hibernation (none knows exactly how long this might last).
In this post, I’ll be sharing proven tips for customer retention during a pandemic like COVID-19, so your business can retain (and even acquire) customers after Coronavirus.
6 Simple Customer Retention Tips During COVID-19 PANDEMIC
- Study the Trends, Blog
To be able to effectively respond to the Coronavirus pandemic, business owners must first have a good grasp of its history and evolution. Then, proceed to create novel ways to adapt to the novel virus with business continuity and customer retention in mind.
Business owners need to follow the news and COVID-19 updates from credible bodies and organizations saddled with the responsibility of public health and safety in their respective regions. By sharing such verified and other valuable information on your corporate blog, for instance, you can build engagement and trust with your audience, which can boost customer retention during COVID-19 pandemic.
- Use Facebook Video Calls
Speaking of engagement, a new report indicates that in the past week there's been a 70% increase in Facebook Messenger group video calls week-over-week as more people are forced to stay indoors or work from home. Stay at home orders mean that business owners must up their customer retention game if they must remain in business.
Similarly, the amount of time spent on these group video calls has doubled over the last week. While this is a temporary trend, marketers can take advantage of it to engage with their audience and market their goods or services, just as Facebook developer partners are offering their services for free to help health organizations in their response to COVID-19.
- Organize Facebook Watch Party
In 2018, Facebook launched Watch Party which offers a new, innovative and collaborative way for viewers to watch videos with friends. It also allows viewers to comment in real-time.
As a customer retention strategy, brands can organize watch parties to educate their followers, say, about a new product that lessens exposure or risks due to COVID-19. Such information could be lifesaving and followers will be willing to part with part of their life's savings to buy your products or services.
Below is a Facebook Watch Party teaching viewers how to produce homemade hand sanitizers.
- Use Instagram "Stay Home" Story and Co-Watching Feature
Weeks back Instagram was slammed for its Coronavirus filters which were deemed "inappropriate" and "stupid". As of today, the social media giant has launched "Stay Home" Story and Co-Watching features.
The "Stay Home" shared story feature seeks to encourage users to stay home and curtail further spread of the virus. As for the co-watching feature, it enables users to watch videos together and allows them to browse over the videos while at it.
Businesses can use these to promote responsible and healthy COVID-19 behavior among their fans and followers. This can help with customer retention during pandemics like this and can double as corporate social responsibility.
- Be Active on Social Media
This should go without saying but it bears repeating. People are "stuck" at home. Some miss their nine to five jobs, others are happy to take a long break. In any case, social networks are reporting a spike in traffic and user engagement as a result of people staying at or working from home.
For instance, Facebook reported in a recent post "Keeping Our Services Stable and Reliable During the COVID-19 Outbreak", that although it recorded growing engagement in areas hard hit by the Coronavirus, it also noticed weakening ads performance. Similarly, most businesses are struggling with customer retention during COVID-19 pandemic as people can't go out to buy stuff.
Business owners should, therefore, be active on social media, with a focus on creating value without being salesy and annoying. Create or share powerful and engaging true stories of people fighting the virus as it relates to your business or industry as part of a deliberate customer retention strategy.
- Stay Home
So far, staying home is one of the best means of containment as it is practically almost impossible to avoid contact with someone or something who has had prior contact with an infected person or object.
If each index case had stayed home or self-quarantined, the spread would have been limited. As part of containment measures, most counties, states or countries require all citizens to stay home, except for few exceptions.
If you're infected, customer retention during COVID-19 pandemic would be the least of your worries. So stay safe, so your business can stay alive when the virus is dead.
Customer retention during COVID-19 pandemic or any other emergency for that matter is key to business survival and economic growth.
Seek out creative ways to keep in touch with your clients and customers throughout the duration of COVID-19, so you can still be in business when it's gone.