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The role of feedback in a ever-changing Covid-19 world

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by Startacus Admin

business online

Amy Robinson, Senior Brand Development Manager at Esendex shares some advice on why customer feedback is so important for businesses in this current challenging economy


pexels 669610As the nation enters the next stage of the pandemic, economic recovery is at the forefront of most people and businesses’ minds. For the country to recover and head back towards some kind of normal, the economy also needs to improve. However, this is easier said than done, especially with the UK officially entering into a recession for the first time in 11 years.

However there are actions that each individual business can implement to try and strengthen their economic position and continue to operate throughout the recession period.

Focus on your existing customer base

According to Insivia, it is 4x cheaper to upsell to existing customers than it is to acquire new customers. Existing customers are also easier to sell to, with Hubspot stating that you're 60-70% likely to sell to an existing customer, compared to the 5-20% likelihood of selling to a new prospect.

Consequently, at a time when businesses are struggling and consumers are more hesitant to part with their hard earned money, targeting your existing customer base as your first port of call is the quickest way to a healthier revenue stream.

However, just because these customers have bought from you before, doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t need to adapt how you talk to them. The pandemic has impacted almost everything we do and so your customers’ priorities and requirements may have also substantially changed. This offers businesses a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between their brand and their customers. How can you begin to tailor and mould your business to become your customers’ brand of choice in a post Covid-19 world?

Customer communication

pexels 3874035Despite the fact that Covid-19 had been detected in China in late 2019, many businesses weren’t properly equipped to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. In fact, a YouGov study reported that 51% of consumers felt that brands had actually overcommunicated with them during this time. So it’s worth gauging exactly how your most recent communications have been received by your customers.

  • Ask if customers are happy with the level of communication they have been receiving from your brand
  • If safety measures have been implemented, check whether customers feel these changes were appropriately communicated
  • Survey customers to understand whether there have been any changes to customer communication preferences. This includes channel, topic and frequency.

Brand sentiment

The consumer landscape is more competitive than ever before and businesses need to do everything they can to strengthen their brand and reputation. One of the most authentic ways to do this is to encourage your customers to be true brand advocates. Consequently, it would be wise for businesses to investigate how customers currently feel about your brand.

  • Have customer opinions of your brand changed at all throughout this period and if so, how
  • Ask customers whether they feel your brand has handled the current situation well. If not, where could your brand improve
  • Check how likely customers would be to recommend your brand to a friend or family member. And if you have the data, see how this compares to pre-pandemic levels.

Market research

market researchIn a bid to respond to the pandemic digitally, many companies changed their business model overnight, so that they could continue to service their customers during lockdown. While government restrictions are easing, not everyone feels comfortable returning to a business’s physical premises and some may have found the newly introduced services more convenient. So it’s worthwhile asking customers how they would like to purchase from you going forwards.

  • Ask whether customers would like you to continue with digitised services
  • See whether customers think there are any additions to your new services or products that should be introduced
  • Have your customers particularly liked anything other brands have introduced as a result of the pandemic?

Employee feedback

With most businesses full steam ahead trying to recoup any losses accrued during lockdown, the impact on employees’ mental health and wellbeing needs to be of paramount importance. After all, no business can function if its workforce is exhausted or overly stressed. Consequently, internal staff feedback is one of the most important engagement activities you can conduct to ensure your business continues to perform well and remains stable through challenging times.

Returning to the workplace

Late March saw many businesses move to remote working for employees normally based in an office. However, with new government updates encouraging businesses to get back to some form of normality, many companies are implementing a phased return to the workplace. With such large changes, it is a great time to gauge how your staff are feeling about the impending changes.

  • Check employees feel comfortable returning to the workplace or whether they’d prefer to continue to work remotely
  • Ask if there is anything in addition to the precautions taken, that the business could implement to make employees feel more comfortable in the office environment
  • Question whether staff would appreciate the option to work remotely more permanently? And if so, how many days per week?

Personal development

pexels 3861964For many, this uncertain time has meant that career paths may have taken a slight detour. However, a large part of keeping staff motivated, is understanding where they want to be in 2-5 years and supporting their development in order to help them get there. While this may not be appropriate for every business, now is still a great time to reevaluate employee development plans.

  • Ask employees whether their career goals have changed in any way
  • See if there is anything which can be implemented, even if this is remotely to support employee development. For instance, inclusion on specific projects
  • In situations where employees were due to attend various conferences or courses, ask if there are any online alternatives.

Most effective way to gather feedback from customers and internal teams

As feedback can be instrumental to business success, it makes sense to find a long term, robust solution to collecting this data. There are various different channels and tactics that can be implemented to gather information and used to future-proof your business.

  • Send a survey by email. Email surveys are a popular choice with providers such as Survey Monkey making it a quick and easy way to survey a large group of customers
  • Customer focus groups. Gathering qualitative data can help to add colour and insight to your quantitative data and ensure that you continue to adapt your business to new customer trends
  • pexels 4560145Send a survey via SMS. SMS has a 95% open rate and is an effective way to quickly gather survey results from your internal team. Perhaps a good example would be gauging the mental health and wellbeing levels of your team on a monthly basis
  • Hotjar survey on the intranet. If you’re wanting to gather some feedback on a larger scale to enable you to identify key trends relating to your internal team, then adding a Hotjar poll to your intranet can be a quick and noninvasive format

No matter the technique that you implement, the most important consideration is to use a channel that is most effective for your audience, be that an internal team or your existing customer base. Feedback will be the key to navigating the ever-changing business landscape and ensure that your brand can succeed during challenging periods and become stronger, adaptable and more resilient than ever before.


 

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Published on: 24th September 2020

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