The global pandemic has prompted a wide range of businesses to pivot and repurpose their products and services in new ways. Changing market conditions often mandate that businesses evolve (whether they want to or not), so having a strategy in place to pivot when necessary is a good idea for all CEOs and business owners.
How can you tell when pivoting is necessary? Watch for these warning signs:
• A wave of customer complaints and negative online feedback
• A price war instigated by aggressive competitors
• Consistently poor employee morale and lack of productivity
If pivoting appears like the right move, how can you be assured that customers will respond favorably? The most effective approach involves gathering and analyzing customer feedback, as a helpful factor in determining your pivot strategy.
Turn to your sales team.
To learn more about current customer sentiments, and what they might like to see in the future, consult your sales team. They are often on the front line when it comes to interacting with your customers and understanding what they want from your business.
Explore a range of customer feedback options.
Thanks to the Internet, there are numerous ways in which you can solicit customer feedback. According to CCBill, a financial technology company, these include “usability tests, customer feedback surveys, and customer interviews.” These direct interactions with customers enable you to “learn first-hand how they feel about your company, products, and services, whether those feelings are positive or negative.”
Look closely at what your competitors are doing.
Remember, you’re not the only one seeking high-quality customer feedback. Your competitors are seeking insights into customer preferences, and the lessons they learn are often reflected how they go about business. For a better understanding of what the competition is doing:
- View their websites through the eyes of a customer.
- Monitor their online presence (both on the website and in social media) to assess their techniques for reaching out to customers.
- Scrutinize their marketing materials for effective messaging you may have overlooked.
Understanding your competitors’ approach to handling customer pain points can help you better anticipate the efficacy of your own product upgrades and launches. As CCBill notes, “if you see customers complaining about how your competitors’ product lacks a specific feature, you now know that that feature is desirable”—an insight that can help guide your own product development.
Use knowledge of customer preferences to plan your pivot.
As we have noted before, pivoting doesn’t mean getting rid of all your business functions and operations. The customer feedback you compile should help lead you to examine specific areas of improvement or where a strategic change is required. Some facets of your business should always be kept in place, or perhaps tweaked a little to achieve greater efficiency. Pivoting doesn’t mean starting from scratch.
Communicate with customers before, during, and after pivoting takes place.
If you’re leveraging customer feedback to guide your pivot strategy, it only makes sense to communicate these changes with as much transparency as possible. At appropriate junctures, let your loyal customers know about changes you have planned, and keep them informed throughout the process. Spread the word on your website and on your social media channels.
Also make sure “your current marketing materials and collateral are up to date and reflect the current environment,” notes Crunchbase. Look at “the ads that are currently running and be prepared to cease those that may be considered tone-deaf.”
Want to learn more about guiding your business through these challenging times? Register for our free TAB Boss Webinar, “Your Business: Growth Strategies Post-Covid 19.”