As we tackle the intractable challenges ahead, it is the job of leaders to remain focused – and ensure that in dealing with short-term decisions, they do not lose sight of their long-term purpose.
Coronavirus has taught all of us that commercial imperatives cannot be all that drives our decision making. Evidence shows that where the board takes responsibility for customer experience, employee engagement increases and levels of customer satisfaction rise. Ultimately in the longer-term higher levels of performance emerge.
The importance of customer service has been thrust into the forefront by this crisis. I think the results reflect that brands may have been benefiting from a period of tolerance from customers, but this may diminish as time goes on.
To adapt successfully to the next Covid-19 phase, businesses need to take stock of what they have learnt over the past weeks - and provide a clear framework for what should be taken forward, and what should be discarded.
As the lockdown continues, tensions will inevitably rise - and a shift in the public mood does seem likely. Businesses should be prepared to navigate the challenges of the next few months in the face of increasing pressure from both customers and employees – and effective service will be vital to ensure they remain committed and loyal when we move past the pandemic.
We will, eventually, move past this. And when we do, those businesses that have done the right thing by customers and employees - and been genuine and true to their purpose - will be in the strongest position to rebound.
Now is the time to harness our knowledge, capabilities and innovation, to engage with employees and customers to truly become a service nation that is recognised and admired across the world.
Organisations across all sectors will have huge sections of their workforce whose services - temporarily at least – they don’t require and can’t sustain. How they handle this dilemma will shape how they’re viewed by employees and customers long into the future.
Brilliant organisations don’t do something to be seen to be doing it. They do it because it is relevant to their purpose and the right thing to do. As part of our Inspiring a Service Nation campaign – developed and launched before we knew of the impending crisis - we have been calling on businesses to stand up and be counted for the good of the country.