Millions of Americans are going through tough times right now. There’s physical pain, emotional frustration, financial strain…and many are facing a combination of all three.
As a business owner, this is a chance to show compassion and help your tribe in a time of need. But where do you start?
4 Ways to Love and Care for Your Customers
Wanting to help someone and actually knowing how to help them aren’t necessarily one and the same. One is a thought and another is an action. Our hope is that this article will empower you with some very practical action steps. Take a look:
- Offer to Pause Fees (Subscription Businesses)
If you run a subscription based business where customers pay you a monthly fee for something – like a gym membership, delivery service, premium content, etc. – consider offering to pause fees temporarily.
Obviously putting a pause on revenue isn’t as simple as it sounds, so here are some different options to consider (based on your circumstances):
- If you’re no longer offering services because of social distancing guidelines – such as a gym – there’s an ethical (and perhaps legal) obligation to suspend fees. Don’t wait until customers complain. Do the right thing and proactively address this issue.
- If you’re continuing to offer products and services, you may still consider pausing fees in an effort to help your customers lower their personal expenses at a time when their income has likely been reduced. (If you have a high margin product/service that doesn’t cost you much to produce, you might even temporarily offer it to them at no cost. This builds goodwill that you’ll surely cash in on when the market recovers.)
- People like having control over their experience. Consider giving customers the option to choose whether to continue paying or to pause payments.
- Collaborate With Members (Membership Businesses)
If you run a membership business – like a premium mastermind group or online course – collaborate with your members and see how you can help them. MembershipWorks suggests three options:
- Provide opportunities for your members to connect with their own customers;
- Provide a potential income source for both you and your customers; and/or
- Provide a platform for your members to share their obstacles and/or collaborate on solutions.
- Give Back to the Community
This is a hard time for business owners, too – so we don’t want to be insensitive to the fact that profit margins are tight right now. However – and that’s a big however – if you have the room in your budget, consider giving back a percentage of your sales to the community. (There are plenty of groups that support first responders, healthcare workers, the unemployed, etc.)
Offering up a percentage of your sales does a few things. First off, it helps people in need. Secondly, it shows your customers that you care. Thirdly, it increases the likelihood that customers will choose you over the competition (which keeps your business afloat).
- Host Live Events
People are tired of being in isolation. The quarantine is wearing people thin. And if there’s one thing they’re seeking, it’s community.
Even though you can’t physically meet with your tribe right now, there are other alternatives for gathering folks together. One option is to host live online events – like webinars. This sort of collective engagement makes people feel bigger than themselves. It provides reassurance, socialization, and support.
Even if you’ve never hosted a live event before, you can learn how. Get creative and try something new!
Customers Are People, Too
In business, it’s easy to grow cynical. You see how things work behind the scenes and you grow callous to what’s happening out in the marketplace. You deal with cutthroat suppliers, greedy investors, and a marketplace that always wants something for nothing. Over many months and years, this breeds a sense of “kill or be killed.”
Let this time – which is a tough time for so many millions of people – remind us that customers aren’t just wallets with money. They’re living, breathing people with families, bills, and feelings. Your customers are hurting and they need an embrace. Maybe not a physical one, but some type of support nonetheless. This could be financial, emotional, or otherwise.
If this crisis teaches you one thing (as a business owner) let it be a lesson in how to love and care for people. These same principles can and should continue to be applied in good markets, bad markets, and everything in between.
In times such as these, the golden rule is more powerful than ever.