Most of my working career has been spent in the world of pensions and particularly Sipps.
More recently I have become very interested in the impact of customer experience on businesses.
For the last 14 years I have had an association with Investors in Customers (IIC) – latterly as chairman.
Back in 2006 I was working for Suffolk Life when it became the first customer of IIC.
I was so impressed at the insight that IIC provided into customer experience (CX) that I was hooked - and have been ever since.
Through IIC I have seen organisations - large and small - embrace CX in a way that has transformed their businesses – and enhanced their financial performance.
I chair a medium sized advisory business and recently suggested undertaking a CX insight and assessment – the results were invaluable.
I have also seen some companies pay lip service to the results – and fail to follow through on the improvement programme that is recommended.
In the current climate you may think it strange that I should be advocating spending time and a little money on gaining insight into what your clients and staff are feeling – but I would argue that now, more than ever, it is important to be listening to both clients and staff, to give them confidence and support through the current crisis.
I am convinced that it will be the businesses that adapt quickest to the new and challenging environment that will succeed.
That means understanding the current satisfaction levels of clients, their current thinking and their changing support requirements.
But it is also important to measure the sentiments of staff and their sense of well-being in what is likely to be a vastly different working environment.
Gaining an understanding of any barriers to performance and importantly any support or pastoral needs is vital as this will impact on the overall client experience.
We have seen many critical headlines recently about long response delays and telephone queues extending to hours in some call centres.
Clients and customers have long memories and there is no doubt that some companies and businesses will have antagonised their customers and loyalties will have been damaged or destroyed.
Now is the time to take action to minimise the impact by undertaking some quick insight and analysis.
This need not take a lot of time and should not be expensive.
For small businesses this can probably be undertaken in-house through phone calls or email. although, even then, an independent viewpoint can be invaluable.
But for businesses of more than, say 25 staff, I would suggest the services of a specialist insight and analysis firm is more useful and economical.
Using a tried and tested research platform this could provide business owners with hugely valuable client and staff data within a few days.