The economic downturn has already started to hit consumer confidence and behaviour. In September, GfK’s consumer confidence index fell to its lowest level since records began in the mid-1970s, while retail sales volumes are now 10% below their pre-pandemic level (according to the ONS).

During a recession, customers re-evaluate their spending and actively search out better value options. They are, to put it bluntly, in play. This is both a threat and an opportunity. A recession is a time when customer loyalty can be enhanced or destroyed.

So, here is your #1 priority as the downturn takes hold: building customer loyalty. You need to understand, as deeply as you can, how your customers’ needs are changing and what actions and offers will earn their loyalty over the next few years.

For example, which of your customer groups are most at risk from your competitors, and why? Similarly, which of your competitors’ customers are likely to be ‘in play’ and how could you best attract them? And how can you gain a greater share of the spend of your most loyal customers?

Acting on the answers to these questions will enable you to both build customer loyalty, spend and share through the recession and accelerate growth during the recovery.

Off The Record: Keep the Customer Satisfied by Simon and Garfunkel

I get slandered, libeled

I hear words I never heard in the Bible

And I’m one step ahead of the shoe-shine

Two steps away from the county line

Just trying to keep my customers satisfied