Imagine the mess if your boat dealership, manufacturing company, or marine business appears on social media sites under the heading “Price Increases, We’re Done,” or worse: “Price Gauging.” With inflation on the rise and businesses needing to pass along those increases to customers, having a strategic communications plan in place to mitigate negative responses will help with potential fallout.
While many of our customers are anticipating these price increases and know they are coming, some are going to be hit with disappointment, shock and others will outright leave your brand and look for cheaper alternatives. With this in mind, below are some strategies that marine companies should consider before publicly announcing their increases.
- Listen To Your Advocates
Companies spend thousands of dollars on focus groups, surveys and polls with their top customers or brand advocates to know what they are thinking and how they will respond to new products, advertising, messaging and more. If you company is about to increase its prices, or monthly/yearly fees, do some listening to get your customer’s perspective and response to your messaging that communicates that prices are going up. Test your reasoning why increases need to take place and their perception. Use this information to tighten-up communications, talking points and statements.
- Be Transparent
While your customers are aware of inflation and experiencing it in many ways themselves, being transparent in how your business is being affected can help lessen the impact. It’s a good strategy to communicate some of the reasons driving increases. For example, if your company requires gasoline to operate its business, tell the customer that gas prices are driving the increase. Don’t just say that you are raising prices, but tell them specifically why and they will be more accepting.
- Offer Lock-in Pricing
There is certainly a chance that you could lose customers when price increases are announced. As a way to mitigate the losses, offer lock-in pricing for a period of time. Be sure to communicate the timeframe that the prices will end. We all want brand ambassadors for our company, and this is one way to grow the number of customers that can tout the benefits of your company by working with them on the increase.
- Communicate with Empathy
While these ideas basically come down to communications strategies and tactics, it’s good to remember that we’re talking about an issue that is affecting everyone right now. Communicating in an understanding and sympathetic way will go a long way with your customers. Consider empathy with your social media messaging, website posts and other communications.
If you haven’t started increasing your prices yet and know that it’s coming, right now is a good time to get out in front of the increases. Implement some of the tactics above and they will allow you to retain your customers.
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