There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic caught the whole world – individuals and businesses – unprepared, and even though the world has moved on from the situation, the effects will remain with all of us – individually and business-wise – for the rest of our lifetime.
So many changes were infused into the government system and across all business sectors/industries. Small businesses, medium enterprises, and large corporations were forced to adopt digital transformation technologies much faster than they would ever imagine.
It didn’t stop there; consumer actions changed drastically; customers began to see the need to do more online shopping – and brands reciprocated by launching online stores where their customers could easily shop for their products.
However, it wasn’t only about taking your brand online. The pandemic changed consumption patterns, consumer value habits, and customers’ spending habits. Also, brands with the higher number of loyal customers were the ones that made the most sales, and this is not surprising!
The pandemic showed that companies, brands, and all businesses must pay attention to the satisfaction rate of their customers and understand how to satisfy their (customers) needs. But then, understanding your customers entails quite a lot of stuff!
In this article, we’d be analyzing why you – as a business leader – should try to understand your customers more than ever. This, you have to achieve using some specific digital tools developed for tracking customer satisfaction.
When you know your customer better than your competitors, then – and only then – you will be able to win their loyalty by serving them the exact way they want to be treated.
Coming out of the pandemic, why understanding your customer is more important than ever?
During the pandemic era, virtually everything was sold online – both consumable and inconsumable products. In fact, much more digital products were launched within the period; a lot of businesses had to digitize their products, while most online stores added more products to their inventory.
The thing is, online stores had the most traffic during the pandemic, and even though the world has moved on from the situation, most people are now more comfortable shopping for their goods online. If you fail to build a strong bond with your customers, they’ll leave your brand and shop with other brands.
With an unprecedented number of consumers now confident in buying what they want online, many businesses have utilized this to gather enough data about customers, which they analyze to understand the customers’ behaviors and create tailored customer journey maps.
That said, digitizing your products and focusing on understanding your customers’ needs are now more important than ever. But before proceeding with this article, let’s take a look at how businesses’ bottomline was affected due to the pandemic and how many companies are dealing with situations at the moment.
How Businesses Bottomline Have Been Impacted
Just a quick overview, and to put it in simple words, the term “Bottomline” in the business world refers to the net income, net profit, or net earnings of a business – after expenses have been removed from the gross or total revenues.
So to say, the bottomline is the final (bottom) entry in a business’ net income financial statement. Calculating the bottomline is pretty simple – you just deduct expenses (plus interest charges on business loans if collected) from the total revenue generated within a specific time – maybe after a campaign or quarterly.
Expenses deducted to find out the bottomline include loan interest charges, income taxes, and general and administrative costs. With a good overview of what the bottomline means, let’s get back to our discussion.
A lot of businesses recorded huge losses during the pandemic era, which significantly affected their bottomline. However, part of the reason why a lot of companies recorded huge losses is that they didn’t integrate flexible digital payment gateways to allow their customers to pay for the products and services they offer.
Due to the effect of the pandemic on businesses’ bottomline, many online stores and companies now integrate multiple online payment gateways so that their customers can pay through whatever means they prefer, including digital transfers.
Before the pandemic, businesses like home cleaning companies, milkmen, gardeners, and general cleaners, to name just a few, were more focused on cash payments and never prepared to go “cashless” anytime soon. But today, a majority of those companies have come to adopt alternate cashless payment methods available in their respective industries – without anyone having to push them to make such changes in their payment systems.
Rebuilding and Growing for a Stronger Business
Okay, the pandemic is all over, business activities have resumed worldwide, and people can meet, greet, and work together. Apparently, no city worldwide is still in lockdown – everything seems to be back to normal. But then, the losses most businesses suffered during the lockdown need to be recovered, and companies need to grow further, too.
Rebuilding and growing a new or existing business in this post-pandemic era points down to “Customer Satisfaction” and “Brand Loyalty.” These two factors are the greatest assets of brands that seem to be on the top flight today, talking about Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Gucci, Rolls-Royce, and other top brands you know.
To rebuild your business and thrive as you wish, you must pay attention to customer relationships, ensuring that your customers are well satisfied with the services and products they’re getting from your business and also digging deep to understand how you can better those products and services being offered – by adding new features or developing a complement service/product.
Good customer relationships can significantly influence your revenue positively. By building a solid relationship with your customers, you make them sentimental about your brand, and customers’ sentiments are a driving factor to brand/business success – those customers would always support your brand against all odds and try to convince others to do the same.
Importance of Customer Relationships to Increase Revenue
The end product of building strong customer relationships is to improve customers’ engagement with your brand or business; that way, more sales would be recorded, and that is tantamount to an increase in revenue. There are also other noteworthy points about how customer relationships can help your business grow in times like this.
- Building strong relationships with customers is one of the most important keys to a brand’s or local business’s long-term success.
- Customer relationships help build trust and make your customers engage more you’re your brand as they feel more secure buying from you.
- Building customer relationships increases the retention rate by at least 50%
Brand Reputations Increase with Better Customer Engagement
Research shows that customer engagement should be the top priority of modern businesses, as it is the key factor to establishing a solid reputation and higher market share. Building solid customer engagement is different from creating unique customer journeys; however, customer journeys can be part of your customer engagement plan.
According to Constellation Research, companies that improve engagement with their customers can experience about at least a 22% increase in cross-sell revenue and 38% in up-sell revenue – with order numbers increasing by up to 85%. Also, Reputation.com research shows that high customer engagement rates can increase a company’s reputation score significantly.
Customer engagement can help to improve many aspects of a business, including revenue and bottomline. At its core, customer engagement is all about inspiring your customers to interact with your brand at any given instance – willingly – without being compelled. Customers may engage more with brands or businesses that over them the best experience and satisfaction.
You can’t talk of customer engagement without mentioning “brand loyalty” and “reputation.” A lot of people would willingly engage with reputable brands and be loyal to them – provided those brands satisfy their specific needs.
So, building customer engagement cuts across many things, which includes building a strong reputation by offering the best-in-the-class products or services and listening to your customers whenever they have something to say about your offerings.
Furthermore, there are many ways to improve the way customers engage with your brand. This includes creating a page across popular social media networks, getting on the Google Business platform (to allow your customers to review your service quality), or creating a forum where your customers can discuss topics relating to your products and services.
Tip: different customers would prefer engaging with their favorite brand(s) on specific platforms; you should make sure your business has a page or channel across as many platforms as possible, including YouTube, Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others.
Customer Retention is Intrinsically Linked to Customer Satisfaction
Well, this isn’t rocket science; a lot of customers would come back to buy from you if they had a great experience the last time they bought from you – and also if the produce/service they purchased met all their expectations. So to say, if you satisfy your customers’ needs, they will come back again and again.
These things are interlinked; quality service results in customer satisfaction, which in turn leads to customer retention. A lot of businesses today are struggling to increase customer retention rates without paying attention to the core basis; customer retention is intrinsically linked to customer satisfaction!
Furthermore, studies show that customer satisfaction – not necessarily customer retention – plays a major role and has a higher impact on customer loyalty. So, it’s basically all about satisfaction and engagement. When your customers are satisfied, there’s no limit to how they can influence your brand or business positively.
But satisfying your customers requires monitoring their online activities, adjusting customer journey maps, utilizing data analytical tools to better understand the data collected from your customers through various sources, and implementing data-driven strategies to serve your customers the way they expect to be served. When you do all these, you can see customer loyalty and retention rates grow by a significant percentage.
Customer Sentiment Strengthens Company Morale
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou. This quote says so much about “sentiments.” How you make your customers feel will determine their sentimental stance whenever your brand is mentioned.
Customers become sentimental, defending the brands they love or attacking brands they detest; they preach the positive sides of your brand with strong enthusiasm if you made them love your business, and in contrast, they may say negative things about your brand if they were never satisfied with the services or products you offered.
Customer sentiments can be seen in their reviews and feedback replies. It is important to pay attention to these sentiments and analyze them to find the areas you need to improve on to correct negative sentiments and further increase positive sentiments. When many customers are positive about a brand, it certainly strengthens the company’s morale.
Business operations in this post-pandemic era have been quite interesting, as everything points to “customers.” Currently, brands are not directly competing to be just ahead of their competitors, but they are competing to offer better services and products to customers to improve engagement and loyalty, which in turn guarantees higher revenue and an impressive bottomline.