Customer management is particularly important in times of crisis. The self-employed and small business owners are dependent on the new.
It is already clear that 2020 will go down in history as the “Corona year.” The crisis is a tough test, especially for entrepreneurs with small businesses and the self-employed, and the aftermath will be felt for a long time to come. Despite all the challenges, it is important to look to the future with confidence and to use the time now to make your own business and customer management fit for the future.
The current situation shows one thing very clearly: Many small business owners have found creative solutions in a very short time to keep their business running at least partially: from pick-up services for food and drinks to online courses from fitness trainers to individual ordering and delivery services from stationary retailers without Online shop.
But despite all the creativity, the conclusion from the Covid-19 pandemic for entrepreneurs is: “Know your customers – because if you can’t sell your product, the best concept is worthless.” Entrepreneurs and self-employed people should take the following easy-to-implement measures now to tackle customer management now and after the crisis:
Customer Management: Go Digital
Digitization is a time of disruption. Many areas of life have changed fundamentally in the last few decades: The way we communicate, the availability of information, and the understanding of convenience. Small businesses and the self-employed also have to transform digitally – even if they pursue a traditional trade. It’s not always about adapting the entire business model. However, it is important to keep up with the times and adapt and digitize the processes around the core business to meet changing customer requirements. Be it the provision of contemporary customer communication tools, digital quotation and invoicing, or the availability of new, convenient payment methods. Every hurdle that falls in the sales process increases sales in the long term and makes the business more successful.
Customer Management: Record Existing Customers
The data protection regulations for customer data collection have become more stringent, especially as a result of the General Data Protection Regulation. Nevertheless, the self-employed and small business owners should not be deterred and find ways to record their customers in compliance with the regulations. This applies to all industries, including those in which the focus is primarily on walk-in customers. A notice in the store certainly does not have the necessary effect of advertising new offers. Whether via a loyalty program, a raffle for customers, a mailing list, or at least a well-maintained social media fan page, the data gained through this helps know your customers and win them over to new segments.
Activation Of Customers
Active communication with customers is often a fine line: Anyone approached too often with irrelevant offers and information can quickly become annoyed and withdraw their consent to be contacted via newsletter or e-mail. But with a little sensitivity, the self-employed and small business owners can find the right frequency and tonality to address their customers regularly with offers and promotions and to encourage them to take action: “Product XY could be of interest to you,” “Come to the store” or “Save get your discount now”- if you activate your customers now. Then, you can retain them more and increase your sales. The prerequisite is, of course, that the customer data has already been recorded or can be reached via social media.
Customer Management: Get Feedback
Customer focus is now the order of the day in many areas. But the customer should also be the focus for the self-employed and small business owners. It is helpful to ask customers for feedback regularly. In this way, you will learn how the customer service and the offer are perceived and can continuously develop. In addition to gaining knowledge, asking for feedback has another positive effect: Customers who ask for their opinion feel valued and are more satisfied, even if the feedback is positive.
The current crisis is a tough school for many entrepreneurs. But it is also a learning journey: If you draw the right conclusions now and enter into an exchange with your customers, you will make your business more successful in the long term.
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