It’s a very strange time to be trying to put together content for our regular newsletter. Our entire team is working remotely and dedicated to helping clients navigate these unprecedented times.
The usual stuff about the cut and thrust of trading prices and marketing positions feels like the wrong time-horizon to be talking about when call centres are grappling with how to operate whilst maintaining social distancing and brands are considering how to deal with vulnerable customers and those who may suddenly find themselves in that category through illness or financial strain.
Our mantra has always been that the brands that see the world through the eyes of their customers will be those that prosper.
We’ve been asking customers for a while now about how they feel about Coronavirus.
Confidence in the Government’s preparations has reduced.
And as the situation changes nearly hour by hour, people are becoming more worried. One month ago 54% of people said they were concerned about it. Last weekend that had risen to 76%.
As a result, we’re seeing people change how they behave and how they buy. Obviously the news has been full of empty shelves and loo roll shortages - but even before this weeks’ guidance on social distancing and bans on large gatherings, 38% of customers said they were avoiding public transport, 35% planned to avoid sport events, and 36% were going to stop going to the cinema.
Sadly, 38% were going to stop kissing and hugging friends and family, and nearly half won’t shake hands anymore.
In a glimmer of light, though, 16% said they were going to go ahead with large scale and financial plans - like extensions, house moves and buying cars.
Things are moving fast and no doubt the results of our survey would be different again today. But it’s important to keep perspective, and think about the long term.
It's not appropriate to talk about the winners and losers of the Coronavirus in any context. This is not a time for cheap opportunism - the fact is that everyone is going to lose something.
However, there will be business survivors - those that can rebuild in the wake of the pandemic. And the survivors will be the organisations which can not only adapt how they operate, but who can really focus on their customers.
The basics are these:
For insurers, that might mean lots of different things - from waiving fees to fixing premium prices, and more.
There is a unique opportunity here for businesses of all shapes and sizes to do the right thing, with the side effect reward of customer retention and loyalty down the line. If you can give to your customers when they need you the most, they'll stay with you forever. Consumers have long memories.
It's time for businesses to step up, and stand up for their customers.
As ever, we are here to support you. If you require assistance in understanding how the current situation is affecting consumers and their buying behaviour, then please ask. If we can help, we will.
And if you can help, you should too.
We plan to monitor consumer sentiment towards insurance over the next few weeks to help the industry make informed decisions with confidence. If there are any questions or issues you'd like us to ask them, please get in touch.
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