How to keep your customers close in troubled times

Prof. Anil R Menon column
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It is good to see the response to last week’s article where we had discussed the first 3 ‘C’s to face and survive these challenging times. Let me reiterate them for benefit of all. It is all about conserving cash, looking at eliminating & reducing costs and communication to all stakeholders. 

Now let us look at the fourth ‘C’ which is Customers. During these challenging times one should reach out to all existing customers.  In B2B business (business-to-business model), one can reach out to existing customers on a personal basis. This was done very well by Mr. Deepak of Retail Detailz India Pvt. Ltd who called each and every existing customer of his to enquire about their well-being as well as that of their families. This definitely helped him strengthen personal bonds. 

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However, in B2C (business-to-customer) models, such personal communication may not be possible due to the large number of customers. In this case, one should come out with a clear communication to all the customers. If I may suggest, using digital means of communication is now the best and cost-effective method to reach out to many customers. 

In all such cases, the communication should be based on the important 3S model (Safety, Security and Social Distancing). This is true for all sectors and especially true for certain sectors such as food, hospitality and healthcare. Such communication will help reassure customers that their health & well-being is a priority for the company/brand. 

Here again, I wish to mention the name of Mr. Bharat of the famous Tewaris Sweets who  ensured  that using 3-S communication model, he reached out to all his customers via social media. In this context, one should always remember to collect data of willing customers as far as possible. In the case of Bharat, he could reach out to most of the patrons of his sweet shops as he had the customer data readily available. As it is truly said by Mr. Mukesh Ambani, “Data is the new oil for Reliance Industries”. 

For most businesses today, if they have a ready customer database which can be used to communicate with customers, this will help get them back to business soon.  One can also reach out to customers whom we would have lost over a period of time. Let me explain, it is always possible that over a period of time a businessperson may have lost customers due to service or communication issues. In these challenging times, just reaching out to enquire about their family’s well-being may help re-establish old bonds & help revive business ties.  As is said in case of a true businessperson, it’s tough times as these which help bring out one’s best to face adversities. 

(Dr. Anil R. Menon is a business coach. He has his own youtube channel Menon Mantras where many videos are uploaded for benefit of businesspersons. Contact: anilrmenon1@gmail.com: Insta:menonmantras)

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