Op-Ed: Why businesses need to boost loyalty in an economic downturn
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BRONX TIMES R 12 EPORTER, APRIL 24-30, 2020 BTR
BY CAROLINE PETERSEN, FOUNDER AND
CREATIVE DIRECTOR, GALLER
The novel coronavirus has created
one of the fastest economic downturns
the world has ever seen. But
despite many businesses suffering
right now, we know the economy will
eventually rebound. Businesses need
to take this time to reaffi rm their loyalty
to customers and employees so
they can come out stronger when the
economy ramps back up.
In their report called How To Market
In A Downturn, John Quelch and
Katherine E. Jocz argue that companies
benefi t from entering long-term
business relationships during a recession,
because during these times
it is more important to strengthen
your strengths which will make
you more viable as the economy improves.
They recommend focusing
your marketing efforts in sectors
where you already have a presence,
producing an increase of awareness
and loyalty, which means the businesses
you reach will be more willing
to work with you in the future if they
are unable to now.
Then the question becomes what
are the different ways you can build
loyalty in business to business transactions?
In his explanation of how
consumer and business sales are different,
Das Narayandas argues in his
essay Building Loyalty in Business
Markets that “companies in business
markets must use an approach
based on benefi ts (‘Here’s how our
product or service can help solve
your specifi c problems’) rather than
features (‘Here’s how our product is
superior’).” In presentations it is important
to show not just how you save
your client money, but also intangibles
like cost transparency, the time
it will take to create a product and
your capacity to innovate. Presenting
your business in a visually appealing
way with easy to follow explainer
videos, infographics, and other eyepopping
messaging continues to be
the best way to share information in
ways that your audience will remember.
Implementing high-end techniques
like a video or having pertinent information
with graphics upfront shows
confi dence in your ability to produce.
That way once you start doing what
your client wants you to do, you will
build the loyalty you are looking for to
create a strong relationship. Narayandas
also argues in his paper that even
if you decide to offer your services at
a discount, that means you can get a
longer-term contract out of it and that
client will be more prone to promote
you to its network.
But none of this can be done unless
your house is in order. Employee
loyalty is just as important as your
clients’ because the institutional
knowledge they have will stay in
the company. Ensuring employee retention
will save you stress, money
and time, and the value an employee
brings to the company will increase
the more they understand how the
company operates. The best way to retain
employees? Keep them happy.
Engaged employees way outperform
the unengaged. In times of
economic stress, it’s critical to ensure
employees feel like valued team
members so they do the best work for
your clients as possible. Employee
engagement does not have to cost you
anything. By identifying a common
theme or goal of all your employees,
you can bring them together to better
streamline processes. Make sure
everyone is involved in the project,
on the same page, and feels like they
are contributing. Simply put, your
employees will not want to leave if
they are comfortable and engaged in
the work they are doing. You can also
help them succeed and ensure they
stay in the fold when working on multiple
projects by using a digital manual
that can be easily updated and
accessed, in which employees can go
to understand what needs to be done
In these times of uncertainty
it can be easy to think only about
your bottom line. But for entrepreneurs
to be successful in the longterm,
you must take the time now
to build loyalty with your clients
and your employees.
This story fi rst appeared on
Photo via Getty Images