Adapting to suit the needs of your customers

The COVID-19 outbreak has left business owners from across every sector, in every country, thinking outside the box in order to keep their businesses afloat.

Adapting to suit the needs of your customers

The word ‘unprecedented’ has become the only suitable
way to define the current state of affairs. The COVID-19 outbreak has left
business owners from across every sector, in every country, thinking outside
the box in order to keep their businesses afloat. As buying patterns and
priorities change, brands – Code Ninjas included – have had to adapt the way in
which they service and communicate with their customers. Here, David Graham,
talks us through why now, more than ever, adaptability is key.

In unfamiliar circumstances, we instinctively do one of three things: retreat, seek comfort in the familiar or take action. In short, when things go wrong, our gut tells us to run, hide or fight back. A few months ago, when the threat of the spread of coronavirus increased and the Prime Minister enforced lockdown measures in the UK, you can bet there were more than a few business owners out there who retreated to the comfort of their own living rooms. But there were also those that leapt into action, ready to reassure their franchisees and employees that they were all in this together. I’m proud to fall into the latter category and count Code Ninjas amongst those that have adapted to suit the needs of their customers and, in our case, our more than 335 franchisees around the world.

When things go awry, your first port of call should always be communication. And even if you are a business owner that prides yourself on your ability to communicate, consider not what you say, but how you say it. You may find that you have to change the way you communicate with your franchisees (as a franchisor) or your customers (as a franchisee). If you usually rely on a well-worded, formal email to address your network, consider utilising other digital tools, like social media, to share updates. Trust me, the message will get out much quicker if published as a status update. This is especially true for customer-facing brands; in any time of confusion or distress, consumers are likely to turn to social media for answers.

If you’re a fun, engaging B2C brand, like Code Ninjas, you may have to use slightly more formal language as you share updates with your network to ensure they understand that you’re aware, and not making light of, the seriousness of the situation. And if you’re a B2B brand, ensure you’re altering the tone of your communication to suit the audience; if you’re trying to put their minds at ease, the goal is to come across as sympathetic and understanding as possible.

In terms of business operations, chances are, the way in which you conducted ‘business as usual’ isn’t appropriate right now. Where possible – and making sure you’re respecting the lockdown restrictions in your respective location – adapt your consumer offering to include a slightly different or pivoted service. A great example of this is how many business coaches are now taking advantage of digital conferencing software by offering their clients virtual sessions. At Code Ninjas, we’re now offering online resources that our students can work through from the safety of their homes with the help of our Code Senseis.

And opportunities for adapted services aren’t limited to customer facing businesses. As a franchisor, if you had a discovery event or franchisee training planned in, take what you can online, and keep active leads warm by engaging with prospects virtually. It goes without saying that virtual resources are only worth engaging with if you’re not compromising on quality but, if done well, you stand to benefit from the marvels of living through lockdown in such a digital age. At Code Ninjas, we’ve put this into practise by hosting virtual discovery days, via video conferencing, continuing to introduce our franchise model to eager prospects.

Going above and beyond for others in challenging times will place you as a considerate and trustworthy business owner. Implementing adaptive actions will also help to maintain your business and, at the end of the day, protect what you’ve worked so hard to create. Sure, times are challenging right now, but if there’s one thing the franchising industry is good at, it’s coming together for the greater good of our sector and customers. Every day, I’m proud to play a part in that commitment.

David Graham
David Graham