Do We Still Really Know Our Customers?
1 July 2020
Author: Jasmine Waters
In every facet of business, there is tension. Generating any kind of sales during an unprecedented period of hardship, a stress that falls particularly hard on start-ups and small companies that may not have a wealth of ‘survival resources’. What can businesses that are perhaps on the more vulnerable side of the scale do to strengthen their customer relationships – and do we still know our consumer base at all?
According to the Harvard Business Review, the key to making sure this connection isn’t lost is to keep the HEART. Rather than this purely meaning taking the time to invest in a personal approach, it is also a five-step strategy to ensure we still have a good idea of our consumer’s wants and needs on a long-term basis. Their advice is based on over 70 years of experience, research and education:
What is HEART?
It begins with Humanising the company itself. This relates to the acronym’s primary meaning, making sure your customers know that you genuinely care and understand the circumstances at play and how those looking to you for some form of solace could be affected. Detail the measures you are taking to make customers and employees your priority, as well as perhaps sharing your initial ideas – get the brand community involved in feedback. This isn’t something to be overplayed, as we don’t want this to come across as insincere.
Then comes a period of education. Make immediate changes to your day-to-day runnings clear in the interest of being proactive. Assure that your existing brand values will also continue, providing the things people already know and cherish. What will set your brand apart from others is the reminder that your brand ethos and strategy can transcend any social problem or issue facing it. This ‘chaos’ presents us all with the opportunity for innovation and revolutionising what consumers value about your business from the ground up. How are you serving people in new ways? Take the measure and let consumers know about them – develop in ways in which you can be active to make lives better.
This leads us to possible the most important step – tackling the future. If we want to make sure we either re-connect or continue to learn from our consumer base, we must face it head on. Can you go “above and beyond” to create a kind of silver lining? Re-evaluate the changes you have made thus far, make it known that you are stable enough to maintain your revised business model. Highlight what you have learned and how you might continue to improve from this. You want your brand to be seen to be taking ownership of the situation, as well as keeping your focus on the value of your customers. Keeping that customer-centric attitude alongside the awareness of what people need hopefully will take steps to improve – and continue to strengthen – those all-important consumer relationships long into the future.
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