As we look ahead, all the signs are showing that we are heading into some choppy water and facing an economic downturn within our UK economy. With inflation running at 40-year highs and no immediate relief on the horizon, we are likely to see continued increases in interest rates. Many economists agree that a so called ‘soft landing’ for the economy is unlikely, meaning a recession is probably going to hit later this year or sometime in 2023.

Such an economic downturn will affect companies in different ways. To weather the storm, they need to ensure they are not in a ‘doom and gloom’ mode where they are cutting costs with an axe. Rather they should look for opportunities in their business and take the time to refine their business model and their organisation structure. This is an opportunity to ‘prune’ their business by looking at ways to eliminate waste and duplication, get rid of poor practices/processes and refocus the business to make it healthier, fitter, and sustainable through these challenging times.

Great Client Experience (CX) is always important to a business, but it becomes a crucial value-centre during economic downturn. Research from HubSpot states that 93% of clients are likely to buy multiple times from companies that provide a high-quality Client Experience. Great CX clients are more likely to be less price sensitive and not inclined to make their purchasing decision based on the lower price. When you have happy, loyal clients it helps control if not reduce your expenses. Loyal clients are advocates for your business which means you may spend less time on new business acquisition which reduces your overall costs. In addition, happy clients tend to complain less, putting reduced stress on your operating infrastructure and helping keep expenses in check. Having a good understanding of your clients is critical, so engaging in a detailed exercise around client segmentation and fully understanding your types of clients should be a priority. From a client perspective they want experiences that are simple, relevant, personalised and ones that make them feel valued.

Research has shown that over 50% of clients decide not to buy from a company due to their lack of trust. Creating and fostering a relationship based on trust and loyalty with the client is the single most powerful thing a brand can do to improve the Client Experience.

According to mycustomer.com:

“True loyalty happens when there is an emotional engagement with the organisation or product. This engagement comes from experiencing the brand or organisation in a unique way that creates true value for the client. This emotional engagement matters as companies that were successful in creating both functional and emotional bonding had higher retention rates (84% vs 30%) and cross sell/up sell rations (82% vs 16%) compared to those that did not.”

Loyalty, of course, works both ways. It is not just about the clients being loyal to the brand, but about the brand being loyal to the clients too and one of the most successful ways to do this is using the power of personalisation. This may include equipping your client facing teams with the right tools to understand your clients. You need to help them make informed choices, follow up with them post purchase, send them a personal happy birthday message, and check in with them frequently. These are all ways of building trust and loyalty.

In summary, when the economy is dismal, do not let Client Experience be the same as it had been. Understand your clients, map their journey with you and ensure you are creating the absolute best experience through every interaction. Overall, you make them feel valued and special. By doing this you will be able to weather the storm and build resilience within your business during unfavourable economic conditions.