Vince Page: What have businesses learned in nine months?

Sidmouth town centre. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Sidmouth town centre. Picture: Alex Walton Photography - Credit: Picture: Alex Walton Photography

As news of a vaccine flows through the media as it is sure to flow through the veins of the nation very soon, it has no doubt lifted the spirits of the country and provided a very welcome light at the end of the tunnel.

Back in March, so many businesses had to adapt to a new way of working in a matter of days in order to survive and this has mostly involved prioritising the customers’ requirements in a safe and thoughtful way which realistically translates into good, old fashioned customer service.

It does appear that within the next six to eight months we may be able to walk up and down the high street without crossing the road to maintain our social distance, a phrase which along with the wearing of masks may also be consigned to the history books of 2020.

But what have businesses learned from the last nine months?

Many office-based companies now realise that, adorned with a laptop, their staff can work from home without the need for the concrete carbuncle of large buildings to house everyone from 8 till 5 which will no doubt reduce traffic levels and ultimately must be a good thing.

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Smaller, more traditional high street businesses have drawn a sharp intake of breath and found that, by going the extra mile, they can be rather more productive than they could have possibly envisaged and those who have put in the effort will have been all the more appreciated by their customers, something which won’t be forgotten for years to come.

In times of severe crisis, businesses up and down the country have chosen to revert to all the traditional values that so many thought were only found in period dramas on the television, yet it has worked!

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You may have found yourself burning the candle at both ends, struggling to cope with the time frame you are working in, on top of which you have feared a dreadful virus that could strike at any time, but if you have been serving the local community in any way shape or form.

Lurking inside you somewhere must be a sense of satisfaction at the gratitude you have received from the people who have relied on your services, whatever they may be.

As a nation, we now use some very sophisticated technologies to ascertain customers’ needs and spending habits, but the bottom line is that there is no substitute for old-school customer service,

And we mustn’t let it expire with the virus.

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