How to grow customer loyalty during a crisis

Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay

By Heather Redding

Loyalty is the holy grail for any business. Now, more than ever, the companies that are most likely to grow are the ones willing to provide sensational experiences to their target audience.

However, it can be challenging to maintain the right focus on building customer loyalty at times. When disaster strikes and your business faces uncertain territory, how do you keep your clients happy?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations faced situations that made it tougher to serve clients. Limited supplies of products, uncertainty, and delivery issues put a lot of business owners under massive stress.

So, how can you continue to grow customer loyalty in a crisis?

Show empathy

In uncertain times, customers want to ensure that they’re buying from companies that understand them. This doesn’t just mean that you need to let your audience know that you’re also struggling with the pandemic.

Instead, you need to look for ways to actively support the people who are suffering most. According to one study, around 89% of customers say that they want brands to produce goods that help people cope with crisis-related challenges.

In the case of COVID-19, we saw countless fashion companies producing face masks and shipping them to hospitals for free. Brands began giving away free hand sanitizer and supporting essential workers by giving them special discounts on products.

These kinds of activities highlight how much you genuinely care about your community.

Improve customer service

In times of uncertainty, customers want their interactions with businesses to be as simple and straightforward as possible.

With that in mind, think about how you can support your customers with better experiences. For instance, can you improve your website’s navigation so your clients can find the products they need faster?

Could you ask your employees to respond to clients on live chat as well as over the phone, so that customers have more ways to get in touch?

You may even find that offering a variety of payment methods helps you deliver better experiences to your customers too. Clients might want to use different kinds of cards to help them manage costs.

Alternatively, they might want to spread the cost of purchase out over time with credit options.

Adjust to new customer habits

Consumer behavior has changed greatly since the lockdown occurred. People are buying less, they are focusing on buying more affordable products, and they’re prioritizing their spending on health products.

With that in mind, it might be time for you to expand your product portfolio and look for new ways to serve your target audience.

Providing discounts that help your clients afford your product, or offering other kinds of deals, like free shipping, may make your audience feel less worried about buying from you. Providing discounts is also an excellent way to maintain customer loyalty in the current environment.

Adjusting to new customer habits could also mean giving your audience new ways to buy online. For instance, if you’re selling a new piece of technology, maybe you could send a video to your audience that shows them how to use it, rather than having a face-to-face demonstration.

Work on your content strategy

Content is the lifeblood of a good digital marketing campaign, whether you’re facing a crisis or not. However, it can be particularly essential to ramp up your content strategy when a crisis occurs.

Remember, your audience will be confused, uncertain, and afraid. Producing helpful content is your way of answering any questions that your clients have and putting their minds at ease.

Not only will your audience appreciate the effort and your care, but search engines will reward you with better rankings as well if they recognize your content as relevant, informative, and beneficial to your audience.

For instance, you might publish blogs highlighting how your clients can use your products in different ways to help them with their current challenges. Many companies providing software solutions started hosting online webinars to teach their clients how to get the most out of their products during COVID-19.

Content is also a way to address customer concerns about supply chains and shipping, or other aspects of your business affected by the crisis.

You can also curate content for your social media to show how you are handling the situation and what steps you’re taking to protect your customers and your employees.

Learn from your customers

Finally, pay attention to your customers and what they need right now. Maintaining good communication with your clients in times of crisis is essential.

Connecting with your customers means that you can put their minds at ease. However, it’s also an opportunity to learn about what your audience wants from you.

Remember to track the results of every strategy you implement to improve customer experience. Watching how you interact with your clients, and which strategies pay off will help you in the long-term.

Coming out of a crisis stronger than ever

Your business doesn’t have to stop growing just because something unexpected happens. However, when a crisis occurs in any industry, you must know how to address the problem.

The steps above will ensure that you leave a positive impression on both your existing and new customers. That way, they will keep coming back to you—even long after the crisis has passed.


Heather Redding is a part-time assistant manager, solopreneur and writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.

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