Laboratory Planet Earth

24 March 2020 Posted by: Patrick Woods Posted In: Crisis management, client retention

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We can be sure that laboratories around the world will be busy now as never before. With the
pressure on to test and retest not to mention the hunt for an effective COVID-19 vaccine, those
filling these buildings will be busy experimenting and innovating. But then that’s what we expect of
laboratories, so we can be comfortable they will do it well.

But this crisis has also triggered experimentation of a different kind. Faced with the consequent
inevitability of a very ill global economy, central banks and their governments have moved fast, with
the result being a massive fiscal policy experiment. Given we have all become accustomed to zero
rates and QE, we almost expect this response, even if we can be somewhat less comfortable with
how well it might be managed.

Individual companies too are facing up to the need to innovate, whether that be how to manage the
requirement to have many staff homeworking or how to reinvent whole business models to
continue reaching customers and maintain some cashflow. Digitisation will play an important role as
many organisations will discover for the first time the benefits of online communication platforms as
a means of staying in touch with colleagues and of course customers.

For now, possibly more than ever, it is important that we all stay in touch with customers. As
physical isolation becomes an imperative, so we must ensure our clients know we are here for them.
It will help us retain their trust, the rock upon we have built our relationships with them. It is also
important that we put into practice the skills we have learned and practiced during our crisis
management exercises. My crisis management colleagues often refer to “the fog of war”, which
describes how it can be difficult to maintain focus in an environment of upheaval. It has never been
more necessary that we innovate and lead our people well through the mist that surrounds us all.

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