HOW TO ENSURE CUSTOMER RELATIONS ARE MAINTAINED DURING COVID-19?

The world is not what it used to be since the Coronavirus outbreak. The virus has distorted the daily lives of millions of people across the globe. Social distancing, travel restrictions, work from home – are becoming the new normal. To gain customers’ trust, companies should understand the buyers and their requirements in this unprecedented environment.

Why is maintaining customer relations essential?

Good customer relationships can help a company to grow. As with personal relationships, creating and nurturing customer relationships is essential as well. When organizations develop strong customer relationships, it can lead to loyal customers, positive word of mouth, and higher sales.

What are the customers expecting from you?

For your company’s long-term well-being, you should put the needs of your customers first. Customers will always prioritize their safety and that of their families. They expect businesses to understand their shopping style, keep essentials well-stocked, be treated as a valued customer, and get benefits even in these hard times.

How to maintain customer relations in the pandemic?

  • Maintain hygiene: The safety of the customers should be the priority of any business concern. Therefore, businesses should keep their stores thoroughly sanitized. When a customer goes to the store, there should be provisions for social distancing and contactless operations to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.
  • Communicate with the customers: In the wake of the pandemic, everyone is in distress and fear. In such times, if a company can keep communicating with its customers, they will feel considered and cared for. By maintaining contact with its customers, the company can also stay informed about the customers’ needs and wants through feedback, thereby stocking inventory accordingly.
  • Make them feel special and valued: By storing customer information such as important dates, companies can surprise their customers with gift vouchers, coupons, gift hampers for special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. They can even send over medicines for the aged family members of the customers. Such little things can increase customer loyalty.
  • Understand what customers are looking for: Businesses can identify the needs and wants of its customers through research and surveys.
  • Added benefits: In these hard times, companies can give their customers free masks and sanitizers with the items they purchase.

It is important for a company to bear in mind the immediate needs of its customers during the Coronavirus crisis. By maintaining strong customer relationships, companies can ensure sustainability and brand loyalty while running their businesses in these challenging times.

More Related Posts

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GST Rates Revised for 27 Goods and 12 Services

GST Rate Revisions as on 6 October 2017

Good/Service Present GST Rate Revised GST Rate
Duty credit scrips 5%  Nil
Mangoes sliced dried  12%  5%
Khakra and plain chapati / roti
Namkeens other than those put up in unit container and, –
(a)bearing a registered brand name; or
(b) bearing a brand name on which an actionable claim or enforceable right in a court of law is available [other than those where any actionable claim or enforceable right in respect of such brand name has been foregone voluntarily
Ayurvedic, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy medicines, other than those bearing a brand name
Paper waste or scrap
Real Zari
Food preparations put up in unit containers and intended for free distribution to  economically  weaker sections of the society under a  programme duly approved by the Central Government or any State Government, subject to specified conditions  18%  5%
Plastic waste, parings or scrap
Rubber  waste, parings or scrap
Cullet or other waste or Scrap of Glass
Biomass briquettes
Hard Rubber waste or scrap 28% 5%
Sewing thread of manmade filaments, whether or not put up for retail sale  18%  12%
All synthetic filament yarn, such as nylon, polyester, acrylic, etc.
All artificial filament yarn, such as viscose rayon, cuprammonium
Sewing thread of manmade staple fibres
Yarn of manmade staple fibres
Poster Colour  28%  18%
Modelling paste for children amusement
All goods falling under heading 6802 [other than those of marble and granite or those which attract 12% GST]
Fittings for loose-leaf binders or files, letter clips, letter corners, paper clips, indexing tags and similar office articles, of base metal; staples in strips (for example, for offices, upholstery, packaging), of base metal
Plain Shaft Bearing
Parts suitable for use solely or principally with fixed Speed Diesel Engines of power not exceeding 15HP
Parts suitable for use solely or principally with power driven pumps primarily designed for handling water, namely, centrifugal pumps (horizontal and vertical), deep tube-well turbine pumps, submersible pumps, axial flow and mixed flow vertical pumps
E-Waste 28%/18% 5%
Imposing GST only on the net quantity of superior kerosene oil [SKO] retained for the manufacture of Linear Alkyl Benzene [LAB] 18% 18% (Clarification to be issued)

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Oct 24, 2018

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Why is GIFF the Best Time to Take a Loan?

The second half of every year brings with it a large number of festivals. As consumers wait with heightened excitement for significant festivals to roll into their calendars, SMEs prepare for the season by adding to their product lines and offering sweeping discounts on their offerings. To support SMEs all over India in their preparation for the season, Capital Float introduced the ‘Great Indian Finance Festival 2017’ – a one-of-a-kind business loan bonanza.

What is GIFF?

The Great Indian Finance Festival (GIFF) is a loan festival designed exclusively for SMEs like you to help steer your business towards growth. From 1st July to 30th September, Capital Float, the largest digital lender in India, brings you unique deals for financing your business. Our timely processing, low interest rates and great offers will assist SMEs like you focus on fuelling business growth while we take care of the financial requirements.

Timing is Everything

SMEs may be aware of the nature of credit they are seeking, however the timing of availing the loan is usually outside of their control. Factors such as seasonality, market trends and lender’s turn-around-time could affect the timing of availing a loan. Through GIFF, Capital Float attempts to provide SMEs like you quick access to customized working capital loans ahead of the festive season, in order to help you prepare for the peak in consumer demand.

GIFF becomes the best time to take a loan because you can:

  • Cash in on festive buying frenzy: Mid-year marks the beginning of the festive season in India, with most Indian festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Onam, Durga Puja, Dussehra and Diwali falling in the second half of the year. Festivities are widely associated with new purchases and bargains, and business owners must not miss this opportunity. Whether it is expensive gifting in Diwali or home renovation before Ganesh Chaturthi, consumers are prepared to spend. Timing is everything and you need to be ready for the surge in demand to make the most of the festive season. This is where the Great India Finance Festival will help you. At GIFF, you can borrow funds at low interest rates, improve or scale up your portfolio and pass on the cost benefit to your consumer.
  • Get an auspicious start: Several festive occasions in India—for example, Onam—are considered an auspicious time to start something new. This traditional belief adds an air of positivity and encourages SMEs to engage in fresh business initiatives. GIFF further aids by offering lucrative deals to SMEs looking to make the most of these opportune occasions.
  • Save on interest: If you are penny-wise in business dealings, the subsequent savings will directly enhance your cash flow. The Great Indian Finance Festival offers innovative and affordable finance products at low interest rates starting at 16%. Since collateral-free, quick loans are usually available at higher rates of interest, GIFF is the perfect opportunity to avail of customized loan products for different working capital needs.
  • Earn in Gold: To add to the rare loan opportunity that GIFF brings you, Capital Float offers lucrative rewards on loans availed during the season. You get to earn Gold up to ₹10,000 on the loan offering featured during Flash Sales. Keep checking our GIFF page or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out the dates of Flash Sales.

Capital Float’s Great Indian Finance Festival can help you make new business headways this festive season. Create a solid foundation with the best financing deals on offer, and push your business towards greater heights with GIFF.

Oct 24, 2018

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Implications of GST on Manufacturing

GST — the unified tax system that is set to revolutionize indirect taxation in India— is finally here. Some of its key proposed advantages are streamlining of tax payments, reduction in tax frauds, and ease of doing business. Here is a look at how these will play out in the manufacturing domain.

Make In India & Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector in India contributes a mere 16% to the overall GDP. However, the potential to make this a high-growth and high-GDP sector is huge. The “Make in India” campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes this possibility real, by giving impetus to the sector. Furthermore, PwC estimates that India will become the fifth largest manufacturing country in the world by the end of 2020. It would be interesting to know how the Goods and Services Tax or GST impacts this roadmap.

Impact of GST on Manufacturing

GST is one of the key policy changes that will have a direct impact on manufacturing establishments. So far, the existing complex tax structure has been a dampener, resulting in the slow growth of the sector. GST is expected to liberate the sector by unifying tax regimes across states.

Overall, GST is expected to have a positive impact and boost manufacturing.  Here is why:

  • Removal of multiple valuations will create simplification: The old tax regime subjects manufactured goods to excise duty, which is calculated differently in different states. While some states calculate excise duty based on transaction value, others calculate it based on quantity. Most manufactured goods’ excise duty is currently considered on MRP valuation. This creates great confusion in valuation methods. GST will usher in an era of transaction-based valuation, making calculation of tax much simpler for the manufacturer.
  • Entry tax subsummation will reduce cost of production: The subsuming of the entry tax for inter-state transfers is a key reason for reducing cost of goods and services. For example, a supplier of cement from Maharashtra to Karnataka was earlier required to pay entry tax when the supply crossed the interstate border. For Karnataka, the entry tax rate was 5% of the value of the goods. The supplier would pass on this additional cost to the customer, resulting in increase in selling price. With entry tax being subsumed, the supplier need not pay the entry tax rate amount and consequently, not charge the customer this amount either.
  • Improved cash flows: Under the new tax laws, manufacturers can claim input tax credit on input goods, which seems to be a positive sign for cash flow. SMEs are keenly observing the time difference between input tax credit and the credit being available.
  • Single registration process will provide ease of registration: The old regime required manufacturers to register each manufacturing facility separately, even those in the same state. GST will simplify the plant registration process by allowing single registration for all manufacturing entities within the same state. Previously, if a brick manufacturer had factories in Bangalore, Hubli and Dharwad, each unit had to be registered separately. Under GST, all of these factories would be jointly registered under the state of Karnataka. Of course, different state-entities will require separate registrations under GST too.
  • Removal of cascading will lead to lower cost-to-consumer: The old tax regime does not allow manufacturers to claim tax credit on inter-state transaction taxes such as octroi, central sales tax, entry tax etc. This results in cascading of taxes—an extra cost to the manufacturing company. Manufacturers end up passing on these extra costs to the consumer. The unified GST regime will eliminate multiple taxes and thus lower cost of production; this, in turn, will mean lower pricing for the consumer. For example, prior to 1 July 2017, SMEs in manufacturing used to pay Excise Duty, Central State Tax and sometimes VAT too at 12.5%, 2% and 5.5% respectively. With GST in effect, they are required to pay 18% in taxes.
  • Restructuring of supply chain: To align with the GST law, businesses will be required to realign their supply chains. However, this is a blessing in disguise. Till date, most supply chain structuring has been designed around how to manage tax regimes. With a single tax regime, this will change, and supply chain structures will focus on driving business efficiencies. An example is that of warehousing. The old regime demands that warehouse management be based on arbitrage between varying VAT rates across states. This is expected to change to bring in economic efficiencies and more customer-centricity going ahead.

Manufacturers, however, are concerned about the following aspects:

  • Increase in immediate working capital requirements: Branch transfers and depo transfers will be treated as taxable under GST; IGST will be applicable on these transfers. This increases the requirement for immediate working capital. Another reason for increased working capital requirements is that the receipt of advance is taxable as per GST rules. Also, stock transfers are treated as “supply” and hence are taxable under the GST regime.
  • More stringent and elaborate transaction management: GST aims to achieve better tax compliance. To make this possible, manufacturers must work towards streamlining existing transactions; this means additional resources and costs. For example, under GST, credit in respect to an invoice can be taken only up to one year of the invoice date. Also, the provision of reverse charge means that the liability to pay tax falls on the recipient of goods/services instead of the supplier. The payment of reverse charge is dependent on the time of supply (30 days from the date of issue of invoice by the supplier in case of goods and 60 days for services).These changes will require manufacturers to carefully assess and track their supply processes, especially the timelines. This may mean hiring a better skilled compliance workforce, and better systems and software. More legal considerations will also mean more costs.
  • Lack of clarity on local exemptions: Despite GST being proposed as a unifying platform for indirect tax, all the components for manufacturing are not yet clear. One such area is localized area-based exemptions. The old structure provides certain exemptions for certain goods in specific states (for example the North East or hilly states). Under GST, most of these exemptions are likely to be removed, resulting in a negative cost-impact on these manufacturers. Such companies must reassess their financial position in view of such likely changes.

Overall, one can say that the impact of GST on the manufacturing sector is positive. It provides a unique opportunity to streamline business operations to become more compliance and profitability-oriented, rather than tax-oriented. It puts power in the hands of business leaders to bring about positive change and steer their enterprises on a growth path, powered by GST-compliance.

Read more of our content on GST by clicking here.

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Oct 24, 2018