Whilst these are all important questions to ask and will undoubtedly change our expectations in future, they focus primarily on internal drivers. This inward focus potentially misses the biggest driver within your recovery – how your customers’ experience has changed as a result of Covid-19 and their expectation of ‘how things will work’ as we emerge. As companies start to look at the longer-term future, rather than the immediate crisis, the conversation has quickly evolved.

Prior to the pandemic, we witnessed a strong transition in the adoption of automation and other technologies; Whilst efficiency, productivity and cost-reduction were still important drivers, increasingly organisations were taking a more customer-centric approach. In a world where customer feedback is instantaneous and made available for everyone to see, reputations are fragile. Ensuring a good customer experience has never been more important; those that have spent time understanding their customers and how they function, and then put processes in place to ensure they are supported, have been reaping the greatest rewards. The recovery will be no different.

Therefore, firms need to ask themselves ‘How has Covid-19 affected the way our customers’ engage with us and their purchasing behaviour?’ In the midst of finding new ways of working, what did we do that was viewed as an improvement? What failed? Has the way you interact with customers changed? How does this align with our long-term goals and values (sighted way beyond our emergence from Covid-19)? What cultural impact has this period had on our customers? How has our audience demographic changed? What impact have the restrictions on movement had on their ability to do business with us?

A simple example is the increasing use of apps and portals that enable customers to track their own progress and to allow elements of self-service. Many organisations were already focussing more attention in this area, conveyancers for example, and since the emergence of coronavirus, use of online services and apps has grown significantly. As a reference, the use of financial apps and mobile banking services increased by 72% in Europe over just one week as a result of coronavirus, according to deVere Group. This isn’t a position we will return from. Even client demographics traditionally apprehensive about using technology are turning to mobile solutions. Their expectation has now changed.

There is groundwork that companies need to undertake before making their processes and services available online though. Organisations first need to have processes that work efficiently and will provide information and status updates back to clients in a timely manner. The last thing you want to do is give clients transparency to weak processes.

The situation we all find ourselves in isn’t easy and there are a myriad of things to consider as we continue through this period and emerge beyond, but to be successful companies need to keep their sights focussed on the customer and build strategies that best attract and support them by understanding and anticipating their needs. That way, businesses will emerge more confident and ready to take advantage of future growth and new opportunities.

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