The value of customer loyalty at times of crisis
COVID-19 has brought about sweeping changes across all industries. Whether for better or worse, these changes are forcing a reset, providing an opportunity for businesses to emerge in a much stronger position.
At a time when the world is rife with uncertainty, it has never been more important for businesses to assess how they’re operating. Leaders should be seizing the moment and critically assessing their companies to ensure they’re making long term operational adjustments which will ensure business resilience.
Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to customer retention. It’s no secret that finding new customers is significantly more difficult and more expensive than keeping current ones on side. But for many businesses the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown customer loyalty out of the window, as frustrated customers have been left in the lurch, unable to get the sort of service they’d expect from businesses that have simply been overwhelmed by enquires. The pandemic has highlighted just how valuable scalable technology solutions that help companies serve customers are.
There is no question that investing in customer loyalty in this age of cancellation and confusion will pay dividends in the future. At times like these customers need more reassurance, quicker routes to conversations, more contact, better quality conversations and the ability for the company they’re dealing with to be agile. Businesses should be in a position where they have the capacity to liaise with all customers in a personal manner, using technology and automation where possible to take pressure off employees. You only need to look to the travel industry to see how unprepared some businesses were in this regard.
Before the pandemic hit, we worked with Ocean Holidays - which has sent in excess of 250,000 holidaymakers overseas since 2004 - as part of a long term plan for the business to improve its CRM solutions, with the ultimate aim of improving recurring revenue. A two-phase approach was implemented; phase one migrated Ocean Holidays to a reliable hosted telephony system, and in phase two we mirrored the travel company’s CRM system with a blend of technology, which was then customised to better suit each area of the business.
The cloud-based solution was a long term strategic vision that provided all the customisation that Ocean Holidays needed for success, including comprehensive reporting, business analytics, live wallboards, always-on call recording, and click-to-dial. Following implementation, Ocean Holidays went on to have its best month for bookings in its history, with the improved customer experience leading to higher conversion rates and customer retention.
Perhaps more importantly, however, the flexible solution has better equipped Ocean Holidays for the unprecedented situation that we now find ourselves in. The high scalability of the solution means it can easily be adapted to the business at it continues to grow, or when the next crisis hits. In addition, the cloud-based telephony system has allowed employees to easily transition to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic without disruption, ensuring long term business resilience and customer satisfaction for the company.
The old adage goes that there’s an opportunity in every crisis - something which is certainly true when it comes to customer experience. Those businesses that use this opportunity to make long term improvements to their customer experience solutions will be the ones that are better equipped to thrive and not just survive as we emerge form COVID-19.