Customer Needs and Your Small Business Recovery
Businesses have been greatly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many businesses have closed, and many are working to manage their continuity. One vital aspect to recovery is to fully understand their customer needs. For recovery of one's business it is important to reflect, restart, and revitalize. With this greater understanding of customer needs a business should develop a plan with a timetable.
There are important questions concerning your customers to reflect on and make note of. Identify who your customers are and if they have changed. Do you understand their current needs and wants? Are your customers aware of the impact the pandemic has had on your business? Are you communicating with your customers to manage their expectations? Have you checked on your contractual obligations with your clients?
How have your customers been impacted? Assess how their consumption patterns have changed. Does your business need direct customer contact to trade? Are you dependent on a limited number of customers and how are you impacted if they shut down? Are you aware of the necessary changes to make to match changing client behaviors over time?
Reflect on how changes affect your business. What are the current changes to your customers' behavior and how can you react to these changes? How can you change all aspects of your business to a more virtual world? How do you work with your customers and a more virtual customer service department? Has the pandemic caused your business to be viewed differently? How should you respond to this shift? How can you retain your customers with less in person contact?
Restart. Identify actions you can take now. Determine how your offerings should differ between the physical and virtual customer. What is the digital equivalent of your existing product? How can you effectively and quickly communicate business changes to your customers? How can you best accommodate physical distancing to include smoothing out peaks and troughs of activity?
Redefine your customer strategy by taking advantage of changing customer preferences. Find ways to reconnect with your past customers while maintaining your current customers. Determine how to build customer trust in an increased digital model. Can you better meet and communicate supply than your competition?
Identify the channels your business can take moving forward. What channels are available to optimize your sales and service now and into the future? Should your business expand its capability to meet the needs of remote customers?
Revitalize your business to direct its future. Identify the long-term implications for your customer base. With a new relationship with your customer base how will your revenue model change? What industry options should your business maintain or grow? Determine how to maintain and grow your customer loyalty with current and prospective customers.
Revitalize your digital model. What changes can you make to your business to grow with the digital marketplace? How should your products and services change to reflect these changes?
There is a lot to think about and determine in the process of better understanding your customers' needs. To respond to these needs and to affect change reflect, restart, and revitalize the relevant aspects of your business. To plan for and implement these changes take note of your response to the different considerations suggested. Write out and schedule your plan for your business's recovery and growth for now and into the future.
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Amanda Y. Cordes, Esq.
Shoffner & Associates
Counselors to Small Business and Families.
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