During tough economic times, maintaining quality customer experiences is crucial to the survival of your business. Getting the right message across to your current and future customers will make or break your business. Throughout the recession, companies like Eastman Kodak ( EK) have done a stellar job managing costs while increasing productivity. For many companies, profits are up and expected to rise in 2010, according to ConcensusEconomics. However, robust hiring of full-time staff will not increase until confidence is restored on the demand side. Thankfully some companies are beginning to see demand increases, including Intel ( INTC), fueled by PC upgrades, Johnson Controls ( JCI), by increased vehicle production, and Omnova Solutions ( OMN), a producer of chemical coatings. While it is essential to aggressively manage costs during the recession, your business will be doomed the moment you sacrifice your customer's buying experience. In fact, service and product quality should be elevated during tough times to build customer loyalty and grow revenue. Knowing where to cut costs and improve service will greatly enhance your company's success. The key to playing through tough times is profit and a lean operation. To build and maintain your revenue streams, you need to keep current customers, sell them more, and seek referrals. Except for commodities, no one survives on price alone. Those who do will eventually go out of business when times are tough. If you make it a practice to keep costs low, particularly in good times, you will reap higher margins and build reserves used to gain a significant competitive advantage during tough times.
Keep Your Word
It's really quite simple: To ensure customer trust and loyalty, keep your doors open and stay true to your company's promises. With more competition and less buyers, quality of experience is key, so continue providing customers quality products and top-notch customer service. Look for innovative ways to offer increased value on things with little cost. For example, include low book-valued items from inventory at no charge or offer discounts on future purchases. Create value-added transactions and involve the entire company in working together to bundle products and services. Customers get more for less, and your business generates increased revenue and profit.