Building Customer Retention During an Economic Downturn

a happy customer is the best strategy

Retaining customers is hard enough when things are going well. Encouraging repeat customers, and building a loyal customer base is an ongoing effort, and even in the best of times, making customer retention marketing a priority takes a lot of hard work.

But now, a global pandemic has made it even harder by paving the way for an economic downturn. People are buying less, spending less, and generally avoiding some of their favorite brands in favor of saving money. With all that going on, you’re asking yourself: “How can I hope to retain customers in the current climate?”

Fortunately, all is not lost, as there are plenty of effective strategies for fostering a loyal customer base during an economic downturn. Take a look at a few of them below, and remember – however things may seem, the pandemic won’t last forever.

Prioritize Customer Experience

It may seem simple, but the reality is that a great customer experience is a gateway to loyal customers, which naturally results in high customer retention. Customers go from first-timers to repeat customers by having positive interactions with customer service reps, and you can’t expect that to happen without a bit of investment. Fortunately, the potential upside for your business is more than worth the added expense.

For one, a mere 49% of customers believe that companies are providing good customer service options, while 73% of customers believe that their customer service experience is an important factor in making a purchasing decision. This means that, if you can differentiate yourself enough from your competitors on customer service, you can build a loyal customer base in no time.

If you think about it, customers want to be loyal. In fact, according to studies, 94% of customers are looking to make a repeat purchase, so the loyal customer base is yours to lose. 

73% of consumers point to customer experience as a crucial factor in their purchasing decisions

Promote Social Consciousness

At this point, promoting social consciousness needs to be part of your business strategy – not only because the times call for action on the part of every business, but because your customers are very much paying attention to this kind of practice. If you want to cultivate long-lasting customer retention, you need to show your customers you truly care.

Studies show that 87% of customers take the stance of a company on social matters into consideration when making a purchase, while 76% of customers say that they would decline to do business with a company with contrasting social views to their own. Simply put, customers are basing their purchasing decisions on whether or not a business is making a positive impact on the world, and you need to fall in line if you want to build a loyal customer base.

In the midst of a global pandemic, though, being socially conscious has to be about more than just retaining customers. Acting like you want to help is different from actually helping, and your potential customers are going to know the difference. Be genuine in your pursuit of social consciousness, and your customers will reward you for it.

Focus on Community

Let’s be honest: customers are lonely during the pandemic. Whether they’re stuck at home by themselves – or worse, stuck at home with their family – having a bit of community to lean on can make a huge difference. This is where your business can come in, to provide that sense of community while encouraging repeat business.

Unfortunately, building a community around your business is a bit more nebulous than offering special deals via email. Loyalty programs, social media, and other community-building platforms are a great way to start growing your presence with potential customers, no matter where they are.

From a bottom-line standpoint, building community is notably beneficial, so you can be assured that you’re getting a good return on investment. In fact, customers spend 19% more when they feel like they belong to a company’s online community. Talk about worth it!

customers spent 19% more at a company when they felt they belonged to the company's online community

Be Personal and Compassionate

In the same way people are looking for community during a global pandemic, they’re also looking for a bit of recognition and compassion. This can be accomplished through personalization, which can take many forms. From providing recommendations pages to customers to show that you care, or by simply using their actual name in email blasts, personalizing your strategy for each customer can make them feel appreciated. Research has shown that personalized CTAs perform more than 200% better than non-personalized CTAs, and that 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase with a company that offers a personalized experience. 

What you might not realize is that customer appreciation is a lucrative avenue to good business. 68% of customers will stop doing business with your company not due to a bad experience, but rather due to perceived indifference. This means that you need to make sure your customers don’t just feel like another number on your bottom line; they need to feel like people.

If possible, personalize your CTAs as well, as they can perform more than 200% better than non-personalized CTAs.

Automate As Much As You Can

Automating your customer communication channels plays a huge role in customer retention. We know this seems like a lot. Particularly during a global pandemic and economic downturn, the idea of adding more work to your load and more resources to extra operations seems impossible.

Fortunately, it’s not! Automation might seem like a dirty word to some, but in reality, it can help you save time and money when it comes to building out your business. From automatically sending personalized emails to customers to fundamentally improving customer interaction from top to bottom – a smart customer communication platform can have a huge impact on how your business is run, and more importantly, on how good of an experience you provide your customers. 

Truthfully, if you aren’t utilizing automation, you’re behind the ball as far as the industry is concerned. 85% of customer experiences are soon set to be handled without human intervention. 


If you are ready to take your business forward, you should check out our automated customer communication platform. It’s all about providing a unified customer experience through all channels, meeting your customers exactly where they are, and managing all customer interactions in one smart inbox. In other words: if you’re looking to step up your customer service to a whole new level this year, we’ve got you covered!

Learn why customers choose CommBox for their customer communications.

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