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The Coronavirus pandemic has not only had a devastative effect on daily lives of people, it has also pushed some lush and lavish economies to a point of free-fall.
According to a report named The Covid-19 Shock to Developing Countries published by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) a global financial crisis is on the cards for many nations across the world.
“Even so, the world economy will go into recession this year with a predicted loss of global income in trillions of dollars. This will spell serious trouble for developing countries, with the likely exception of China and the possible exception of India,” the UNCTAD said.
The report, however, did not give a detailed explanation as to why and how India and China will be the exceptions as the world faces a recession and loss in global income that will impact developing countries.
So, how do we deal with this global recession? What crisis management strategies we can apply to make our consumer-oriented businesses sustainable in the days to come? Listed below are 5 pointers that shall be a good starting point for many end-consumer oriented businesses.
- Listen to your consumers:
If you do not know what exactly are the concerns hindering your customers from giving you business, then you will never be able to sustain your business during a crisis. Listen to their concerns, fears, limitations and hesitations with both ears and an open mind.
These could turn out to be the valuable assets that you can build upon during a financial crisis. You won’t be able to solve a problem unless you first know about its existence, would you?
Listening to your consumer, and listening well, will give you accurate pointers that will lead your business in the right direction in the days to come. So don’t worry if you haven’t been able to map your way out of the financial crisis, just keep looking for pointers to the way out!
- Engage to build trust:
One of the best ways to get through a tough situation is by building a circle of trust. If people trust you, they are likely to be by your side during difficult times.
The same goes for businesses, you need to be open about what’s hindering your business and how your customer(s) can help you overcome it. Let’s say, for example, you can no longer offer the same discount on a single product that you were offering your customer earlier, let them know about it and maybe ask for bulk purchase to get the same discount.
Your consumers are likely to understand your situation, appreciate your honesty and stick around for a while as you have already won their loyalty by giving unmatched discounts in the past.
- Empathic marketing:
In times of financial distress, people want to connect to businesses that give back to society. People tend to appreciate businesses that effuse a feeling of empathy, and this is where empathic marketing works like magic.
It could be something as simple as say, for example, a ‘pay it forward’ initiative at a coffee shop or restaurant. Where those with deeper pockets can pre-pay the business to extend their services, like a free cup of coffee/free meal, to those in dire needs.
The footfall at such businesses is likely to soar organically than compared to a place which might serve better quality products and services, but are not willing to take an initiative to uplift the society. Through the good old word of mouth empathic marketing alone can prove to be a winner, if done right.
- Empower employees:
Your employees are your most powerful assets in your battle to survive the recession, second only to other liquid assets such as cash and inventory. If you keep your employees well informed and updated about the financial situation of the company, it will make them feel like their workplace is one big family. Once this is done, you can expect a boost in employee productivity.
Where possible, goal-oriented work should replace time-oriented shifts. Replace the number of hours per day with a reasonable work target for the day. It is likely that they will feel respected for the work they do and will effectively counter the sense of time-bound enslavement that many employees usually feel. Additionally, people usually like to work harder and smarter when they know after accomplishing certain tasks, the reward that awaits is an earlier finish to their workday.
- Measure impact:
All of the above activities would be rendered useless if it cannot be measured and channelled accordingly. To get the results that you want, you need to be sure that the time and efforts that are being invested aren’t going to waste.
The only way to ensure this is by tracking results. Set small yet noticeable goals for each day. Find out when you were able to hit the targets and when you did not. Then take a deeper dive into understanding what activities took place that helped reach the targets and vice versa. Once you have noticed these trends, all you have to do is repeat the practices that worked well for your business and get rid of ones that did not.
If done right, this shall ensure zero leakage of your limited time, manpower and financial resources.