For any business that survives its first year, preparing for a recession is vital.
While downturns are part of a healthy economy, you don’t want to be caught unawares. During a recession, consumers usually scale back on the products and services they buy. This is true whether your company appeals primarily to individuals or to other organizations. Customer engagement is an important tool to ensure your clientele will stand by you, even during hard times.
Understanding Customer Engagement
For businesses accustomed to normal patterns of operation, customer engagement may seem fairly intuitive. For instance, people see an advertisement or sponsored content, and they may click on it; they see a storefront and decide to go inside. However, this is only one part of connecting with your clients.
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Customer engagement involves everything a consumer does when they interact with an organization, including what they think about the company when they consider its services. During a recession, it is extremely important to keep buyers focused on your brand in a genuine way. You can be sure the competition will be working hard to do the same.
Find Reliable Paths to Engagement
Since most customers do at least some of their shopping and research online, it is safe to assume that you need to connect with them digitally. During a recession, people are less likely to browse, so your ability to keep their attention is a matter of survival. You can build positive engagement in a variety of ways, such as:
- Regular social media posts with interesting and useful content.
- Professional, online chat opportunities.
- Unique client profiles that they can customize.
- Promotions or discounts for loyal customers.
Take the time to find out what patrons need from your business. Gather feedback and adapt your processes to meet their ongoing expectations.
Turn Engagement into Customer Retention
To engage with prospective and current customers, the first step is knowing which tools are available. The next step involves testing out multiple strategies and determining which ones will give you the highest return.
Keep in mind that consumers are more likely to continue using products and services from companies with a positive reputation. If you regularly interact with them, answer their questions and tailor your business to suit them, they may have less incentive to look elsewhere.
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Think Beyond the Sales Funnel
Even if your business is entirely online, you still function as part of a community. Connecting with that group can provide opportunities to boost your brand’s reputation. Consider focusing on more than the bottom line and donating to those in need. However, make sure to be genuine in your approach — people can often tell when an organization’s actions are contrived or gimmicky.
Research your customers’ pain points, concentrating on how their buying patterns change at the beginning and throughout a recession. Brainstorm a few methods to address these concerns in your community. Helping others can increase brand awareness and engage existing clients on a deeper level.
Recessions can be a difficult time for many companies, but there are ways to help you make it through. By taking care to engage with customers positively, genuinely and effectively, you shore up your existing revenue streams and create lifelong patrons.
*Mihir Korke, the author, is the Head of Acquisition at Clover Network.