Part 2: Managing B2B Customer Relationships in Uncertain Economic Times
Do everything in your power to keep current customers happy so you will be a difficult partner to drop during uncertain economic times.
In Part 1 of this series, we discussed some strategies for helping to navigate new B2B (business-to-business) customer relationships during uncertain economic times. But what about existing customers? It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly which businesses will be impacted the most and to what level they will need to alter budgets.
Here are some tips for working with current customers during uncertain economic times:
Reach out and check in on each B2B customer – Every company is different, and it may have been a week, a month, a quarter, or even a year since you’ve spoken to a specific customer. After all, some customers contact you frequently with various questions or issues or are willing to speak up more than others. Take a moment to quickly reach out to each B2B customer individually and let them know you’re here for them and their needs. Start with the ones that you haven’t spoken to in the longest period of time. This can be a heavy lift for companies with hundreds or even thousands of customers, so divide and conquer as needed.
Reassure customers that you aren’t going anywhere – One way to go about this is setting up some time with certain customers to promote your own employee metrics, financial stability, and industry recognition. Don’t think of it as reselling the customer on your business; instead approach the conversation from a stance of confidence and stability. Having an executive sit in on conversations as needed to share their thoughts doesn’t hurt either.
Check in more often than usual and prioritize communication – If your customer success team was only providing quarterly updates, move them temporarily to a monthly basis with customers you identify as at-risk of leaving your business. Ensure the relationship remains strong and offer to go the extra mile to help in these unique situations. For example, if a customer is frustrated because they don’t have the resources anymore to do admin configurations in your system, offer to set up a short call and make these changes for them.
Work together to find creative financial solutions – The last thing you want is for a good customer to leave your business because they’ve hit a rough patch financially. Don’t be so quick to say goodbye! Instead, come to the table with flexible solutions to buy them a few months to get their finances in a better place. If a customer is asking for a price break, see if they are interested in helping your company out through webinar appearances, event spotlights, customer testimonials, and more. If your customers aren’t paying you, it’s time to make them work for you by amplifying their voice to help drive interest and sales.
Just because there’s uncertainty and frustration with the economy doesn’t mean you should transfer these feelings over to your existing B2B customer relationships. Be the rock they can rely on and work with them to create avenues of mutual success.
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