The Growth Series

How businesses can succeed during uncertain times

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that uncertainty can strike from the least expected places.

When a business is managing its way through a crisis, every element of that business will be experiencing different pressures and responding to different demands. Finance teams will be grappling with cash management, HR will deal with tough decisions over furloughs and layoffs, sales teams will be pressing customers to continue buying, and IT will be handling the demands of people working from home.

Among all this, customer service will be among the hardest hit.

Calls will need to focus on reassurance as more and more people experience financial hardship as a result of uncertainty.

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So how do brokers continue to deliver?

Great service means meeting the customers' needs, and being prepared with techniques to reduce frustrations. Rather than holding their hands up and admitting they are powerless to help, brokers need to play the advocate and join the customer in trying to solve a problem together.

By reassuring their clients that brokers are on their side, a lot of stress is taken out of the picture. For instance, a customer might be struggling to get through to their lender to find out about mortgage holidays; a broker can take that burden off their shoulders and support in getting them all the answers they need. 

Of course, in tough times many customers will take out their frustrations on businesses. We have a guide to handling negative reviews that might help in these circumstances.


Great communication

Putting a communications strategy in place is vital during uncertainty. It’s vital brokers are clear across all channels, and adapt how they speak to clients depending on the pressures they are facing.

Read more: The broker’s guide to essential communication tools

It’s important not to put up a wall of silence, but to go looking for answers, even if there’s no clarity on the options given to customers. For instance, part of the government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis was to extend mortgage holidays, leaving lenders with huge volumes of enquiries to process.

As part of a communications strategy to be used during a crisis, remember to review the smaller messages, alerts and notifications that your business sends out. An ill-timed automated message could, for instance, come across as insensitive if a client is going through a tough time.

Ultimately, brokers need to aim for the ‘halo effect’ where they shine above competitors as the ones who stepped up and helped clients through a crisis.


Knowing where to turn for help

To support brokers through adapting to new work environments and new ways of conducting business, we’ve launched a Covid-19 resource hub that pulls together what we think are the most relevant articles from the Growth Series.

Alternatively, the CBI has a similar hub providing businesses of all sizes with the support they need based on the latest government guidance.

As these unexpected situations evolve, businesses increasingly need to ensure there is efficiency across the board, not only with costs, but with clients getting the service they expect.


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