Fulfilling customer demands has become increasingly difficult for small business owners in the wake of Covid-19. Today, many businesses face challenges retaining reliable staff and acquiring the supplies needed to provide customers with products and services.
These staffing and supply chain problems have placed more undue stress on the lives of small business owners at this already unprecedented time. Therefore, each business owner must evaluate new approaches to keep their business open and make money despite these setbacks.
Here are six ways small businesses can continue to meet customers needs:
1. Small business owners should not be afraid to admit that they are struggling.
Business owners may feel embarrassed to admit to customers that your organization does not have enough employees or supplies to service them. Loyal customers will significantly appreciate honesty. They may be more empathetic if they are fully aware of the challenges experienced.
Customers want to be informed and know what they can expect from their favorite small business.
Customers will want to continue to support their favorite retailer or restaurant. They will want to return to help your business if you are upfront about staffing issues or supply chain shortages that your industry is facing.
2. Keep customers informed by communicating.
Keep customers informed about the expected arrival date of supplies needed to serve them to adjust their expectations.
Frequent communication will allow customers to anticipate waiting to receive their goods or service or have to turn to other alternatives.
A loyal customer may be in desperate need of new tires. For example, mechanics may be awaiting a new shipment of tires to fulfill orders. The load is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. The customer knows the tire she needs is unavailable at your place and is unaware of when the shipment should arrive. The customer may decide to order tires from another business on Monday. Additionally, the customer may not return. Not communicating efficiently with customers could cost a company a sale that could have easily been made.
3. Outsource when necessary.
The restaurant industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. They’ve lost a lot of their workforce. They are, in many cases struggling to get the same products their customers expect. In some cases, inflation has made it challenging to stock no longer profitable items. Restaurants may want to consider outsourcing delivery options instead of taking away delivery services entirely or closing when a delivery driver is unavailable. Some vendors utilize DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, etc.
Offering a delivery option in some capacity will provide opportunities to loyal customers who appreciate having their food delivered to their door will likely overlook the few extra dollars these delivery services cost. Many will continue placing orders.
Furthermore, using these delivery services also eliminates the need for a worker to answer the phone and take orders as the orders are placed directly through the delivery service’s app.
4. Don’t neglect to try new things.
Substituting products can be a tough decision, especially if you typically obtain is of high quality. Many small businesses are currently struggling to serve customers because of a shortage of a particular product. In that case, it may be time to branch out and try a similar product from another supplier.
Customers may notice a slight difference in the taste of the pizza topping. For instance, pizza shops that cannot currently get the pepperoni that’s typically ordered may want to consider trying another brand of pepperoni. They can do this temporarily until the usual one is back in stock. They will likely prefer to still order a pepperoni pizza from their favorite shop instead of having to find a new one entirely.
5. Make changes when needed.
Businesses not bringing in as much revenue as they used to because of the shortage in supplies and labor may want to consider temporarily discontinuing some of their lowest selling services or products.
If these products require different supplies than the typical best sellers, briefly stopping their sale will hopefully save some money. Businesses that stop selling unprofitable items should inform customers that this is a temporary practice due to the current market situation.
6. Get creative with marketing.
Businesses that have a specific product or service that quickly acquire all of the necessary supplies may want to consider increasing advertising surrounding that product or service.
Loyal customers and new customers will be attracted by a product that can be fulfilled. These customers will continue to return for that product or service repeatedly. They trust it will be available even when so many other products and services are not.
Being a small business owner in this current economic climate is no small or easy feat.
With supply chain issues and labor shortages, many may be overwhelmed and tempted to close their doors to escape these hardships for good.
Organizations that are currently struggling to retain reliable staff or provide customers with the products and services they were ordinarily able to provide will need to explore measures such as the ones provided for them in this article to create a strategy until things get better.
Good customers will appreciate your integrity. They will want to support their favorite small business, especially if they are made aware of the challenges and see that efforts are being made to find satisfactory alternatives.
PaySmart is a payroll provider located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, supporting small businesses in the Central PA region. We are dedicated to helping small businesses take care of their payroll needs. To learn more about how PaySmart may provide payroll solutions, please contact us at 717-766-1777. Our New Client Concierge is waiting for you!