The past few months have taken a toll on businesses of all shapes and sizes. Consumer confidence is at its lowest in years as consumers find themselves with less disposable income. While most of the economy has ground back into action, there are still many who are struggling to make ends meet, despite more government support on the horizon. Whatever the nature of your business, whatever its size and scope, it’s likely that your target audience has been adversely affected. Many will have lost income. Some may have lost their jobs altogether. Some will be trying to make ends meet while placed on furlough, while others will be grappling with unemployment for the first time in years.
Yes, the climate may seem bleak. But while your circumstances may be disheartening, take a moment to consider the opportunity to be found in adversity. Because no matter how difficult things may be at present there is a huge scope for businesses to turn the current situation to their advantages. There are businesses out there right now that can, and do, find the opportunity to generate even greater value for their clients and enjoy greater profitability than ever.
Your customers want reassurance. They need to know that the brands they buy from have their back. They need you to act as a beacon of hope, and ballast to support them in these topsy-turvy times. Yes, their support is harder won than ever. But you should use this time as an opportunity to strengthen your infrastructure so that your clientele has more reason to trust you than ever. Building consumer trust has never been about shortcuts or quick fixes. It’s about consistently delivering operational excellence and earning their trust through consistency, not about flashy marketing gimmicks. It’s not even about dropping your prices, but rather about keeping your eye on the prize and ensuring that you don’t neglect the basics.
Invest in the right materials
Whatever kind of product your business makes, the customer’s perception of your brand is tied to the quality of that product. And that means you need to be consistent. The truth is that many consumers will take “consistent” over “great” any day of the week. Do you think people get in line to get their latte from Starbucks because they’re the best? Do people really go to McDonald’s because they’re expecting the best hamburger they’ve ever tasted?
Let’s be honest… probably not.
But what ensures that your products are of consistently high quality? Of course, rigorous quality control plays a huge part. But more often than not, it’s about sourcing the right materials. Even the most skilled chef can’t make a great dish out of bad ingredients. Your customers need your products to be reliable now more than ever. And investing in the right raw materials or components is the key to delivering consistency. Of course, you still have to consider your margin and the cost that quality implies for it, especially at a time when your orders and income may be erratic. Nonetheless, you’ll find that cutting costs on raw materials now will diminish the quality of your product tomorrow. And if you have your sights set on the big picture, you’ll know that this approach simply isn’t sustainable.
Invest in the right people
Your products are services are what bring people to your business. And your branding, marketing, and online presence may be what piques their interest. But it’s the people under your roof that bring your brand to life. It is they who come to work every morning with the attitude, skills, discipline, and work ethic that embody the values and ideals upon which you build your brand. Your employees have been through the wringer of late, so it’s up to you to ensure that they feel safe and reassured as well as your customers.
Of course, this means ensuring that they are as well compensated as possible for their hard work, even though there may be less of it than there was at the start of the year. You may actually be able to mitigate the cost of this by re-evaluating your bonus and incentive structure. After all, not every employee is motivated by money. Some would much prefer flexibility in their working hours, greater autonomy over their days, or the opportunity to earn paid leave rather than monetary bonuses. And thinking harder about non-monetary incentives could result in savings for you.
You need to ensure that you provide them with training, opportunities, and professional development to achieve their career goals. However, if you don’t, they’ll happily walk off to a competitor who will. Even in the current climate.
You also need to think hard about employee recognition. In an era where over 80% of the global workforce is either not engaged or actively disengaged at work, employee recognition can help them to feel more valued and respected at work. What’s more, a growing percentage of the working populace values recognition from their employer’s overcompensation. Here are some employee recognition platforms that will allow you to formalize your employee recognition process and work it seamlessly into the fabric of your operations.
Go above and beyond when it comes to business compliance
It goes without saying that compliance is essential to keep your business on the straight and narrow. Moreover, it’s more important to avoid costly fines and sanctions. But in this current climate, you need to do more than just be compliant. You need to go above and beyond!
Your customers need to be able to feel safe and cared for on your premises and off it. It’s up to you to ensure that you’ve gone through every aspect of your infrastructure with a fine-toothed comb; this is to ensure that you are doing all that you can to excel. From ensuring that your commercial linear drainage systems are flowing smoothly to taking care that your air conditioning apparatus is spotlessly clean and well maintained with increased frequency. Every little bit helps in assuring your clientele that they are safe in your hands. Of course, that goes beyond your physical infrastructure too.
The unfortunate truth is that many cybercriminals have used the uncertainty and confusion of the current climate to their advantage, using new themed lures to phish the vulnerable, scared, and confused. Make sure your team is ever-vigilant and that your cybersecurity infrastructure is fortified against digital threats. It’s more important than ever to ensure that their data is as safe under your roof as they are.