In this article, we are looking at business management predictions for the coming year. There are a few keywords and phrases that have come to the forefront in the past 10 months with regard to business success, diversification and growth:
- Empathy and support
- Sustainability and environmental awareness
- Digitisation and automation
These areas of business management seem likely to become more significant over the coming 12 months. Let’s take a closer look at them in turn.
Empathy and Support
The current situation for the most has truly brought out the best in people, with individual and group acts of kindness being apparent from the very start of the first lockdown. There are of course always exceptions but dwelling on them brings no benefit.
With regard B2B there are multiple examples of business initiatives, networking opportunities and free resources demonstrating the will of organisations to support each other. These have been observed on a regional and national level.
When it comes to B2C, businesses that have quickly understood the increased need from their customers have benefitted most.
While the customer has demonstrated that they can be tolerant and understanding of delays given the incredible pressure everyone is facing, one area that businesses cannot compromise on is communication.
There may be an area of your business that you simply cannot deliver. This is of course understandable and has been the case for even the biggest businesses. Nevertheless, you must acknowledge your restrictions and give your customers a vehicle to communicate their issues.
It is vital that customer enquiries are dealt with swiftly and that where ever possible actual human interaction can be achieved. At a time when people are so restricted in personal engagement, the value of facilitating a real dialogue between your customers and your business is incalculable.
Sustainability and Environmental Awareness
In the months prior to the pandemic in particular the environment was a hot topic. Unprecedented numbers of people were taking to the streets to demonstrate their concerns with regard to their government’s environmental policy and application of such. This was happening globally.
The pandemic stole the limelight from environmental concerns however it is definitely not a case of out-of-site out-of-mind. There are of course also connections being made between the two topics.
Customers are demonstrating across the board that organisations that take a sustainable approach to their business and embrace environmental practices or produce an environmentally friendly product are winning over those that don’t.
Digitisation and Automation
This last trend has been forced upon many businesses, particularly with the need for wide-scale remote working, however, there are many positives to come out of that, as well as some words of caution.
Implementing CRM systems, chatbots and AI are steps every business can take to improve customer experience (CX) however, there is always a danger of over digitising.
Such systems can be used to great effect to learn about your customers and potential customers’ needs, swiftly manage their data and process their enquiries, however as we have said nothing can and should replace human interaction.
It is advisable to analyse areas of your business that could benefit from digitisation or automation and assess the impact on your customers. If possible invite customer feedback and get it ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’. That will help you keep on track.