As of this moment, we’re living through an unprecedented economic crisis. History has no comparable lessons from which we can learn, so we’re all navigating through uncharted territory together. We’re also dealing with loss – loss of our routines, the confidence in our plans, and even a sense of predictability about the future. While these may seem small in the grand scheme of things, the stages of grief are real.
Denial: “This might not last that long.”
Anger: “Another month! Are you freaking kidding me?!”
Bargaining: “If only we could just…”
Depression: “Every day 56 hours long.”
And finally, acceptance: “Okay, how can we make this work?”
As we climb that hill and reach the summit of acceptance, now is the moment when our resilience, our creativity, and our competitive advantage help us shine. While our immediate goal is survival, our vision is not just to survive, but to thrive. So, what steps can you take today to plant the seeds of growth for your future? How can you make it work?
Get to Know Your Customer (Again)
We certainly hope you’ve dedicated time and attention to your customers – understanding what motivates them, how your service/product meets their needs, and predicting how and when those needs will evolve. Double down on those efforts now. Like you, your customers are in the eye of the storm so their needs, priorities, and goals are fundamentally – and maybe forever – changed. Invest in getting to know your customer again – whether that means digging into available data, conducting research, our using your channels to engage directly with customers. Learn everything you can about how they feel, and how you fit into their lives – both now and in the future. For more insight about ways you can better understand your customers, check out a recent webinar we shared titled Understanding Your Customers In a Recession.
Tailor Your Message
Should you stop marketing? No. Should you tailor your message? Yes. Once you understand how your customers’ life and decision-making has changed, you can respond in a way that keeps your organization top of mind while demonstrating your commitment and stability (qualities so important to consumers right now). While you may be slowing volume-driving activities, your brand building efforts are more important than ever.
Make the Leap
Want a silver lining? There has never been a better time to get buy-in for ditching a lagging product/service or adopting a forward-reaching initiative. When resources are limited, you need to invest them where they have the most potential. And when survival is on the line, even the staunchest opponents for change can be surprisingly open-minded. Make the case, earn the support, and make the leap to do something differently. Now’s your chance!
Reinvest in Your Relationships
Relationships – with customers, with your team members, with your partners – are more important than ever. All the good ones have a balance of give and take, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or lend a hand. What added value can you offer your customers, even if they can’t pay more right now? How can you support team members or ask for their help in planning for the future? Can you call on a partner to help meet your goals or provide insight (check out Chartwell’s interim support packages or free webinar series, as examples)? The relationships we maintain deliver compounding interest, so invest heavily.
Just a final note – in case you haven’t heard it recently, you’re doing a great job. If you took the time to read this, you’re exploring options, seeking out advice, and thinking proactively. You’re probably also managing a variety of daily demands from your work, your home, and your community. You’re making it work and you’re adapting. Keep it up and know that if we can ever be of assistance (whether you just need to chat, a good laugh or some extra hands on a project) we’re just a phone call, e-mail or video conference call away!