As it appeared in the Daily Nation on July 7th 2020
Dr Lucy Kiruthu
We are in the second half of 2020. The first half of the year and especially the second quarter was not what most businesses expected. It was different in many ways. Certain economic activities came to a halt; some businesses completely shut down many others reorganized themselves in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As businesses rejigger in this new era, several actions could help them jump-start. For many, it is about looking into their product range and their markets. Do you need new products? Do you need new markets? Do you need better penetration of the market? Alternatively, do you continue focusing on the products you have always offered and the markets you have always targeted? For other businesses, their first priority is to focus on the safety and productivity of the staff. What is your priority?
At the core of the existence of any business are its customers. To jump-start your business, I recommend that you focus a little more on your customers this month. Just in case the pandemic made you lose touch with your customers, it is time to reconnect and welcome them back. Most existing customers would love to hear from you and to find out how you are doing. Do not shy away from reaching out by making that overdue courtesy call. In case you are looking for new customers, it is time to rethink your marketing strategies. What strategies will help you become more visible? Remember a well-known marketing strategy is through a positive word of mouth. If you delight your existing customers, they will make repeat purchases and they will help you recruit more customers. Are your existing customers happy with you? If not, what action will you take? Furthermore, consider marketing strategies that will attract the attention of potential customers. Maybe it is time for you to design a creative WhatsApp flier instead of simply posting items for sale. What will you differently?
To make your customers happy, remember that you need to understand them better. Over the past three months, consumer behaviour has evolved. For example, customers are more conscious about health and safety measures that businesses are taking. Are precautionary measures evident to your customers? In addition to the goods and services that you provide to your customers, it is also important to realize that customers have many other unspoken needs. Do you know these needs and are you meeting them? If you do not know, find out or think like a customer to unearth their needs. Above all, understand that customers are people first, handle them with care and in a courteous manner and engage them a little more.
Finally, support your customers reach their goals. As you do this, make the process painless. Do you understand what your customers are hoping to achieve? What hardships might they be facing? What problems are they trying to solve? To support your customers adequately, stay focused on them and their needs. This second half of 2020 presents a great opportunity to obsess a little more about our customers as we jump-start our businesses. It is time to care more and to hold on to our customers. Any business hoping to survive, must not remove its focus from the customer! How will you stay focused on your customers?
Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy