How to Utilize Data and Insights to Maintain Strong Customer Loyalty During COVID-19 and Beyond

As the country comes out the other side of the COVID-19 global pandemic, a top priority for businesses within every industry is to learn and implement the ‘new normal’ for their company.

In order to do this effectively, it’s essential for brands to be fully in tune with their customers’ needs, as these are likely to have changed significantly throughout the course of lockdown. Whether it’s personal financial situations, or a new expectation for certain brand values, businesses need to ensure they’re positioned in a way that will maintain trust, loyalty and confidence within their customers.

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Let’s take a look at how your business can ensure you’re creating and maintaining strong customer relationships throughout this adjustment period.

What is the data telling you about CUSTOMER LOYALTY? 

In order to best support your customers on their journey with your brand, and ensure you’re in a position where you’re able to meet your customers’ needs even if they’ve changed throughout the course of the pandemic, you need to prioritize adding value.

The most effective way to do this is to gather concrete, genuine data. Whether this is gathered through surveying your customer base to discuss their attitudes or preferences, or if it’s via your digital platforms, it’s key to remember that the data you collect should be actionable.

For example, insights collected in a recent webinar revealed that whilst many attendees had the capability to gather data from email open, bounce and click rates, not every attendee was also tracking email campaigns from send through to basket orders. Then, this reveals that whilst a certain layer of data is being collected, there is more depth that businesses could be adding in order to further analyze customer behavior to make informed decisions and actions as a result.

Another example of the importance of learning from data is through analyzing how adaptable your brand has been throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

For example, the ability to adapt to being predominantly online whilst essential shops were closed. In the long-run, customers may still wish to continue carrying out their shopping experiences online rather than in store – with a great example being Amazon Prime, who’s revenue increased by 28% during the first quarter of this year due to people in lockdown using their service to buy essentials. If this were to be the case, would your brand be fully equipped for it?

Place a larger focus on stability to foster customer loyalty

With the uncertainty that 2020 has brought so far, the country is looking for security and stability.

As your customers may be facing big changes in the likes of their financial situations, it’s essential that brands are providing a reassuring message through their content – especially if your products and services require a significant investment from customers, rather than just a transactional spend.

As a brand, you should be aiming to demonstrate empathy and loyalty to your customers at this time – through things such as the creation of genuinely helpful and relevant content, rather than solely activities that seek a promotional purpose.

Make use of analytics platforms, such as Google Analytics; this can support you in identifying and implementing new search, journey and goal results which, in turn, will reveal the topics and themes you should be focusing on in order to enhance traffic and traction. From there, the use of CRM and operational analytics will also enable you to see how spending patterns have changed, too. All of these insights should be used to inform the content you share and create whilst emphasizing your brand’s values.

If used effectively, this data will also help to identify which behaviors and patterns should trigger the use of promotional messaging or material that provides a certain message – such as one of reassurance – in order to show customers your stability at this time. In fact, recent webinar feedback also revealed that brands are noticing increased email engagement since the COVID-19 lockdown began, which highlights that customers are keen to maintain existing customer relationships even more so than before. With this in mind, why not also look to adapt your current email communications to share this reassuring message of your brand’s stability?

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Analyze customer behavior more than ever before

It’s highly likely that the best customer-focused strategic guidance you receive will be directly from your customers’ behavior.

From this, you’ll be able to create a strategy that highlights the content you should be creating, and the promotional messages you should be putting out there.

Develop your understanding of behavior modeling – using customer activity and trends to make predictions for future behavior – in order to make positive changes to your marketing and business strategies.

For example, how are customers using your app?

Are they contacting you more frequently?

Are they making more or less purchases than usual?

This will enable you to build an entire bank of customer insights. The use of analytics tools and third party analytics, such as Hotjar, can also support you in this.

Furthermore, become more familiar than ever with the likes of transaction analysis, customer journey analysis and how much support one customer requires to the next. Then, make direct actions and adaptations in line with the insights and knowledge you now have. At this stage, be sure to involve the use of control groups so you can allow measurement of the effect, too. The current business climate is changing and evolving continuously in this time of Covid-19, so changes and implementations need to be quick in order to ensure you don’t risk customers losing trust with your brand.

What should we expect from the rest of 2020 and beyond?

As every business, industry and entrepreneur prepares for the ‘new normal’ and awaits the permanence of the impact of the COVID-19, many questions and potential outcomes are being considered by brands. For example, is online shopping permanently going to be the main go-to platform for trade?

It’s important to remember at this time that there’s no one answer to fit all, which is why the use of unique data, monitoring of trends and behavior and making comparisons between year on year activity is critical to ensure your brand is able to maintain loyalty with customers.

As we move forward, continue re-evaluating the segments you have in place for each customer persona in order to customize your marketing strategy. This will support you in realigning with your customers’ needs to make sure you’re on the front foot.

Whilst no brand can be certain on the most effective way to move forward through COVID-19 and into the rest of 2020, it’s no secret that businesses will need to be prioritizing customer needs, behaviors and data more than in the past.

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My advice: If you take the time to adjust your strategies, content and messaging in-line with data results, then you’ll be able to continue growing those all important relationships with current and prospective customers.

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