With the COVID-19 outbreak and consequent lockdown enforced on March 23rd 2020 in the UK, the way we all live and work in the last 6 weeks has changed dramatically, and this is only likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Certainly, at the moment, there doesn’t look to be an easy way to return to ‘normal’ life as we know it.
The consumer landscape has changed. COVID-19 has shaken us as human beings to the core. It’s played on our emotions and fears and brought out the best and, unfortunately the worst, of some people.
Companies are having to adapt to this new ‘invisible enemy’ and offer different ways of working and engaging with their customers. They are having to rely more heavily, if not solely in some cases, on distant and remote technologies to deliver products and services to us.
What should we be asking our stakeholders?
As a society, although generational differences are changing how we want to access products and services, many of us still desire human contact and prefer to put a ‘face’ to an organisation we deal with. So, for many of us, these ‘forced’ changes in how we are having to engage and operate with products and services come with its own concerns. There are many questions that firms need to be thinking about in order to optimise their business at this time. Here are a few we feel clients should be asking of their stakeholders at this time, whatever sector they operate in.
- With an ageing population, how are the older generations adapting to his new way of engaging? Cashless transactions have almost been forced upon them, but has this provided them the confidence to continue in the future, when things ‘return to the new normal’? How will this period in time change the future behaviour of this important group of consumers?
- How are companies allaying fears individuals might have at this time? Stress appears to be at an all time high, so how easy are companies making their interaction with their customers?
- How are consumers coping with all these changes and are they getting the right support they need?
A core consistent message throughout this whole period of time has been about staying connected with our friends and loved ones and we’ve seen an upsurge in use of technologies that allow us to do this. However, how many businesses are actually continuing to engage with their stakeholders at the moment?
Like many research agencies, I’m sure, Turquoise has seen a number of projects postponed and cancelled due to COVID-19, and we often hear the rationale behind this as being the fact that it is a ‘blip’. Well, yes, it is a blip, but it’s a big one, and one that isn’t going to go away tomorrow. And whilst we understand the temptation to batten down the hatches during these economically uncertain times, it’s even more important to understand how your organisation is currently performing in the eyes of your stakeholders currently:
- How is behaviour changing?
- How well is your organisation supporting its stakeholders?
- How are you overcoming their fears?
- What else could you be doing and ultimately, how is this period in history going to affect perceptions of your organisation?
- How are you adapting to the new norm?
Adapting your research methodology
As a full-service research agency we are continuing to support organisations answer these questions. Not only can we continue to use quantitative online methodologies and operate a web based remote CATi function, we are continuing to support our clients with in-depth qualitative insight via telephone depth interviews and web communities, encompassing online discussions and ideation.
Don’t allow COVID-19 to define your organisation as reactive. Continue to plan and gather strategic insight from stakeholders to ensure the solutions you are adopting now are the right ones to see your organisation through, what will be, a tough few years ahead.