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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 28 February 2021

Five ways to show customers you value them amid a pandemic

Thoughtful gestures amid a tough economic environment allow businesses to retain customers

Retaining existing customers also costs less than acquiring new ones and helps increase profit. Getty Images
Retaining existing customers also costs less than acquiring new ones and helps increase profit. Getty Images

When I first started my entrepreneurial journey, I had three loyal customers. They were the first to purchase my products and always promoted my business to their friends and acquaintances. At times when I felt like giving up, it was their encouragement and belief in my vision that pushed me to achieve my goals and stay in the game.

No matter how you brand your business, or where it is located, you wouldn’t have a business without your customers. They are your foundation and become part of your story. Retaining existing customers also costs less than acquiring new ones and helps increase your profit. Research by Bain & Company reveals that increasing customer retention by 5 per cent increases profits by 25 per cent to 95 per cent.

As many people around the world will be celebrating Valentine’s Day today, it is important to always show your customers you value them, and especially those who were loyal to your business during a pandemic. Though many businesses are mindful of their expenditures, there are ways to creatively express your gratitude and love.

Send them a personalised note

A personalised note from the founder of the business, expressing love and gratitude for their loyalty would go a long the way with customers. You can do this once a year, or on special occasions and holidays such as Eid or their birthdays.

Provide them with special discounts and benefits

Come up with a benefit programme for your loyal customers. It could include special discounts, sneak peeks of new collections, or a chance to test a product before everyone else.

Shower them with samples and freebies

We have a saying in Arabic that goes along the lines of “Even if they’re rich, they still would love a gift”. Send your customers mini gifts like a notebook, a sample of a product that you want to promote, or an experience with their purchase.

If your customer is a filmmaker, perhaps you could provide them with a chance to view something that you wouldn’t unveil to others and allow them to film it. Or if the founder of a business is someone customers aspire to be like, then you could organise a free and short mentorship webinar with the founder and provide an opportunity to seek his or her advice.

Listen to your customers

One way to show your customers appreciation is to assure them that their feedback is important and that you listen to them. You could acknowledge a customer’s advice by dedicating a social media post thanking for valuable advice.

You could arrange for virtual focus groups, or a simple questionnaire to improve their experience with your business.

Another way to show them that you are listening is to be active on social media, respond to their comments and answer their questions.

Your business’s profile on social media doesn’t need to be formal and a one-way communication channel, but you could humanise it and make it fun for your customers to connect and chat with you. For instance, fast food chain Wendy’s presence on Twitter is witty and funny, and many users interact with it.

Go above and beyond for them

The pandemic has affected both businesses and consumers. Your customers are going through a hard time, so it would be thoughtful if you provide an add-on to enhance their experience.

Depending on your line of business, you can offer discounted subscription fees, free exchange and returns, an instalment payment option, express deliveries at a standard price, or provide special promotions. If you are a service provider, then you could offer a free consultation, or waive certain fees.

Though just one day is dedicated to celebrating love in the calendar, business owners should incorporate expressing their gratitude to their customers always, especially during hard times.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati journalist and entrepreneur, who manages her marketing and communications company in Abu Dhabi

Published: February 14, 2021 07:30 AM

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