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Being the first choice for your customers

Written by Frank Milner on Tuesday, 01 September 2020. Posted in Sales & Marketing

No matter what sector your business operates in, your customer will have been affected by the recent lockdown.

Being the first choice for your customers

No matter what sector your business operates in, your customer will have been affected by the recent lockdown. You’re bound to have witnessed a shift in customers’ spending habits. Times have been tough, and people have been forced to adapt to their own situation, meaning their urge to buy will, no doubt, have been altered. Now we’re seeing things getting back to a strain of normal, you might be scratching your head to think of new ways to engage new and returning customers. 

Most businesses will first set about bringing former customers back. This should, after all, be the easier win. Think creatively and form a strategy for your team to follow. Your customers who once bought from you without question may be, quite understandably, nervous about spending again - is there something you can do to inspire confidence? Introduce a special personalised offer for them - something that adds value is normally a better tactic than discounting your goods or services. 

This next point goes without saying: your business will need to adapt to at least some online offering. If your product/service continued to see a demand online throughout, you might be in a position to consider where you prioritise your business. For example, Tutor Doctor saw an increase of 120% in demand for online tutoring and a recent survey by online tuition platform, Bramble, revealed that students believe online tutoring is more efficient than in-person. Our franchisees are reacting by showing these benefits to students and their parents. Of course, human interaction is still needed but for added convenience and ease for your customers, think about how they want the transaction to take place. 

Even though e-commerce was already a huge part of our everyday lives, it’s only going to be more prominent now. While COVID-19 is still spreading, people are fairly hesitant to risk human-to-human interaction outside of their bubbles - they are naturally going to turn to doing things remotely where possible. Whether your franchise was able to adapt to online initially or it’s something that’s going to come into play very soon, the ability to purchase or receive services online is going to play a strong factor in how and who people do business with going forward. 

With more eyes on our screens, you’ve got to think about your availability to customers. The rise of technology and prominence of social media has had an ‘always on’ attitude since its inception and you need to consider what that means for you and your business. Lockdown introduced a whole different routine for people which, in turn, has affected their buying patterns. What once was a Google search before or after the working day or during lunchtime, could now be a mid-morning or late-night search. Getting your brand in front of people and responding during the times when they’re engaged will help build recognition, credibility and trust in you and your service. Perhaps you can introduce a social bot to provide automatic replies or simply re-assess your priorities throughout the day so you can be available for you customers. Whatever your solution, think about how you can minimise your response times, because people will simply go elsewhere if you’re not meeting their needs in a timeframe they expect. 

My final piece of advice in winning trust with customers is to continually show your support for the rest of your community. At its finest, a franchise will sit at the core of the local community. Now is a great time to see what more you can do in your community. Customers will be looking for businesses that are safe, considerate and respectful when it comes to their needs, and there’s no better way to improve your brand image than by supporting others. You’ll be seen as more socially responsible and a friendly face around town. 

As we wave goodbye to a ‘normal’ day, we welcome a new way of business. Many customers have shifted how they are willing to interact with the brands they once felt comfortable in stepping into their store or inviting into their homes. It’s now up to you to adapt your business so you become their first choice. 

About the Author

Frank Milner

Frank Milner

Having worked as a stockbroker, built a successful insurance business, acted as a sales coach and then taken on a vice president role at WSI, the digital marketing franchise, Milner has an impressive and varied background in business, franchising, sales and marketing. In his current role as CEO of Tutor Doctor, the private tutoring franchise, he's seen the company grow globally to include 500 franchisees spread across the world, including the UK.

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