Suffering in Silence     5 Tips to Show Your Customers You’re Still There

I initially wrote this article in April during our first lockdown, never expecting to have to be re-addressing this again. But sadly once again I walked through the streets of my local town yesterday and it was very much like a ghost town. In the previous lockdown sadly alot of businesses had just put posters in their window saying ‘Closed due to the COV-19 Virus’. A few had a number to call if you wanted to purchase something but written on a scribbled note.  Where were their owners? What was happening to their businesses? When would they return? There seemed to be a definite ‘Suffering in Silence’. This time though it is great that a few local businesses have offered their websites and invites to their Face Book pages so it is a great that they haven’t given up.

It has been wonderful living in the market town of Leek in the Peak District with so much local support and individual community groups and I hope you have this too. I initially wrote about being so positive and realising there will soon be another side but we all feel this is so much harder having struggled through the last few months. But we can either close our doors or keep fighting and here are a few tips for those who never give up. Sadly I do know some of you had to and not through choice.

The main priority is to communicate with your customers old and new. They will be on a tight budget so once again reassess the five ‘P’s of your business as you may need to make changes. ‘Price, Product, Place, Promotion and People. Watch out for my next post regarding this.

We need to keep in touch with our Customers to let them know we are there for them now and definitely in future.

Lots of us own local businesses and therefore have great, very close relationships with our customers and to disappear completely they may even feel they have lost a ‘friend’. You may have been the only person they have spoken to  all day and that is what brought them back again and again and told their friends about you too.

Customer Relations and Customer Retention are both essential at this time and here are 5 Tips to help you do this. Money is tight of course so of course most are FREE or low cost ideas

  1. Your shop or business window. Again a few shops have just put up plain paper to cover items and prevent damage or theft. It is essential if you have Face Book to purchase from or a website to put it up clearly as many people are wandering around and if they see something they like in your shop they will photograph your details. Also look like you are re-opening so give them some hope with a festive window. Showcase items they would like to buy now for Christmas. It is so hard to be positive but we have to be as business owners. Put a nice message out to passers-by to thank them for previous business and look forward to seeing them in future.  Put up a Team Photo if appropriate. Brighten up the high street. What do you want to be remembered for after this Covid crisis?
  2. Social Media Again a great FREE tool to keep in touch and whilst you have FREE time brush up your skills on Face Book, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. If you can sell online but have not been doing so, now could be the time to learn how to do so. Start small. Use local community networks to keep in touch and get involved. Beware of the gossip sites. If you have not already done so set up your own Face Book page and keep it busy. If you want more advice I am happy to help. Always remember the 1 in 4 rule. 1 Post Selling and 3 with Information, Tips or Nice Pics. Videos are great and fun.
  3. Great Press Releases Maybe you are supporting a local charity by donating food or doing special promotions to those less fortunate. You could be offering free delivery services to certain groups. Just shout out anything good you are doing or be assured your competition will. Check the local papers for what others are doing or what services people need and try to do at least something for your local community.
  4. Customer Relations Management. Again it is vital to keep in touch as much as possible with your customers and if you don’t already have a system in place I can highly advise you do so. I use one called Capsule which costs approx. £12 per month and is perfect for a small business. It offers you the opportunity to enter client’s data, tag them in relation to what service/items they buy and then stores it online. Also for data protection you can contact your customers via email using their BCC so other customers don’t see private emails. It is a great system and as it is online it doesn’t block up your computer space. For advice about Customer Relationship Management systems just send an email. The system is only as good as the data you put in it, but if you have time on your hands now then use it to create a really good asset for your business.
  5. Advertising No Way that is crazy as we can’t sell anything or expect people to buy anything? Ok so advertising prices right now in local newspapers should be considerably cheaper for that reason. Look at what products you can offer and how you can supply them during this period then ensure you use the advert to let people know. Also as I stated in point 3, during this period you should be able to persuade the newspaper to offer some FREE Press release space to support your advert.  Think about a short period of diversification to help you get through this.  Just remember your brand needs to be consistent throughout and always get someone else with ‘Fresh Eyes’ to check your advert and editorial to ensure it is positive, represents your brand and is clear.

I hope this article has helped give you some positive thoughts and if you want any FREE help please email me at diane@marathon-media.co.uk

Thanks for reading

Diane

Note: I do understand that in relation to the government grant/payments you may need to check with the HMRC guidelines or your accountant related to commercial operations during this period.

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