6 Steps For Building And Maintaining Customer Loyalty Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic

Loyalty Marketing Amid Coronavirus

Welcome to 2020.

Here at Andzen it’s been a busy few weeks, to say the least. We’ve been consulting with our clients and doing everything we can to help them apply creative business solutions to the current health (and economic) crisis. 

Amid the evolving global COVID-19 pandemic we’ve seen eCommerce merchants battling:

  • Supply chain issues.
  • Decreased demand.
  • Insanely increased demand (in some cases).
  • Confusion around appropriate messaging.
  • Fear of being “salesy”.
  • Fear of launching new marketing initiatives.
  • An underlying fear of going out of business.

And the list goes on.

We get it. Marketing during this global Coronavirus crisis is not easy! 

Ultimately the best way to market right now, is by strengthening your empathy muscle and genuinely helping your customers (in the way only your brand can).

Why loyalty matters (more than ever) right now

Let’s nerd-out on the data for one second. 

It’s been found that an increase in customer retention of just 5% can result in a 75% increase in your company’s profitability. Pretty insane, right?

So if you’re looking to maintain or increase revenue during the coming months, the FIRST thing we need to look at is your customer loyalty and retention strategy.

When it comes to building customer loyalty, Apple has to be one of the best examples. Many of their fans will slam down their drink and vehemently berate anyone who dares say a bad word about Apple.

In fact, neuroscientists found that Apple fans have the same part of the brain light up (when talking about Apple products) as religious people do when talking about their god!

Now that’s loyalty.

Amid this unfolding Coronavirus pandemic, now is the time to build closer relationships with your customers, now is the time to build a cult-like loyalty, and now is the time to turn your best customers into brand advocates!

Before you consider any new customer acquisition strategies, this should be your focus…

1 – Check the tone and frequency of your communication

With people’s inboxes rapidly filling with brands giving generic updates, like “we’re taking extra care with hygiene and hope you’re safe” – now’s not the time to follow the herd!

The core of your marketing messaging (regardless of this current situation) needs to be empathy. Empathy for your customers’ needs, wants, fears, and desires. Amid the current crisis, selling should feel (and look) more like helping.

And now more than ever, people will be turning away from brands that show a lack of empathy.

Here’s some questions you should be asking yourself:

  • What’s keeping my customers awake at night?
  • What is the core benefit they seek from our product or service?
  • How can we best support them through an incredibly stressful and uncertain time in their life?

If you’re not crystal clear about who your customers are (your buyer personas) and what motivates them – now is the perfect time to get laser-focused on that!

When it comes to how often you should communicate with your customers… it depends. You can message them every single day IF (and that’s a big if) what you’re sending is directly relevant to them.

At Andzen we always put a huge focus on weaving empathy into all of the customer journeys and messaging we create for our clients. 

Using behavioural segmentation and dynamic display elements, you should be trying your best to keep ALL emails and communications relevant.

2 – Offer extra perks for your most loyal customers

Everybody loves being recognised and singled out – for something positive. 

“Who me?!?”

When it comes to solidifying customer loyalty, offering some of your best customers a surprise gift can go a long way!

Maybe you give them exclusive discounts on your store, lifetime (or 2020) free-shipping, or an added gift with their next purchase. 

Anything you can do to recognise, and show appreciation for, the support your best customers have given you will be a valuable investment of your time and resources right now.

By offering extra perks for your most loyal customers, you not only encourage them to stick around, you also give an incentive for other customers to strive to reach that status.

3 – Consider different payment plans and solutions

This one comes back to the empathy we discussed earlier. Some of your customers are currently dealing with loss of income and financial uncertainty – compounded by fears for the health and safety of those they love. 

What can your business do to ease that burden?

Particularly if you sell products that are considered “non-essential” you may want to consider offering some additional payment options.

While giving your customers more manageable monthly payments, this could also give your business some much-needed cash flow during the coming weeks and months.

There are many tools, such as AfterPay that can help you set this up.

4 – Buck the trend by over-delivering

With so many brands currently under pressure, under-staffed, and trying to deal with 99 problems all at once – customer care, consideration, and understanding are all the more crucial.

As hard as this might be right now, your customers will notice! 

And it’s really about the small things. It’s about responding quickly when they have an issue and taking the time to listen and truly address their concern.

One survey in 2013 found that 51% of customers end their relationship with a business because of shitty customer service. Yep, 51%!

Don’t let that be you. 

There are helpful tools such as Gorgias that can help you maintain outstanding customer support and deliver a superior customer experience on your site.

5 – Ditch the tech and chat 1-to-1

While technology has allowed us to automate the vast majority of our marketing communications (we know all about that at Andzen), now might be the time to add in some personal touchpoints.

With a sophisticated email automation flow your customers should feel like you’re talking to them directly. But there’s something to be said for dedicating the time to actually talk to them directly. 

Some ideas are…

  • Adding your customers on social media.
  • Sending them a direct message.
  • Sending them a personal email.
  • (God-forbid) picking up the phone and giving them a call.
  • Sending them a personalised letter or card.

By dropping the tech-barrier and genuinely asking your customers how you can help, you’ll be showing them that there’s a real human being on your end that is ready to support them.

6 – Stimulate cashflow with bonus loyalty points

Much like governments around the world are currently offering unprecedented economic support for those doing it tough, your business can offer some support for your most loyal customers!

Setting up a rewards and loyalty program with a tool like Smile.io is a great way to build loyalty (even outside of the current COVID-19 pandemic).

If you’ve already got a loyalty program set up, fantastic!

You can tell your customers that you understand they might be doing it tough right now and want to bring a little joy into their day with 1,000 points to spend at your online store.

Small gestures go a long way.

As you’ll likely agree; these are unprecedented and difficult times for many eCommerce merchants.

But by focusing more of your energy on building and maintaining loyalty from your customers you’ll be more likely to find yourself in a strong position when the economic upswing hits.

Here at Andzen, we’ve helped clients all over the world implement strategies for improving their customer loyalty and retention. We’ve also become exceedingly good at it. 

If you’d like to set up a free chat with our expert team, get in touch today

Hi, I'm Luke; Creative Director at Andzen. Some people appreciate vintage cars—others appreciate American West Coast IPAs. I appreciate words, sentences, songs, books, and creative use of the English language. After growing and selling my own eCommerce brand I now use everything I learnt to help other eCommerce brands grow their reach and revenue. I enjoy working with inspired entrepreneurs who are looking to launch a product that truly 'shakes things up' and changes people's lives.

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