As the uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit continues, many organisations have resisted change, preferring to wait until they know the outcome of the negotiations and future direction. The level of uncertainty is still dominating thoughts with the impact of the outcome being unknown and suggested impacts from a deal/no deal/extension outcome being so varied.
There is publicity about preparing for the various outcomes and understanding the risks that businesses will face. Organisations should be looking at a number of areas including:
- Supply – will we still be able to source materials/components/products?
- Sales – will we be able to sell to EU companies and how will that change?
- Import/export – will the legislation for importing and exporting change and when will that impact?
- Workforce shortage – what will happen to EU workers currently in the UK and how can we replace potential skills shortages?
All valid questions with unknown outcomes.
So, what else can organisations do to prepare?
An area that many organisations are failing to consider is the secondary impact of the outcomes to the above.
If organisations are unable to continue to operate in the same way as a result of an outcome to Brexit then how will that impact them?
How will customers react to these outcomes? The inability to continue to deliver service or supply goods as previously promised may have a significant impact on customers and influence their behaviours. It is probable that we will see increases in the level of customer contact as a result of this service failure or even in anticipation of service failure.
It is clear that many businesses are taking the first stage very seriously but are all of the consequences being considered?
- What will be the impact on customer service teams?
- How will organisations cope with sudden increases in workload at the same time as potentially reducing income?
- Which channels will customers use?
- What is the capacity for dealing with enquiries/complaints?
There is a myriad of issues that are not appearing on many risk profiles.
Stay one step ahead
It is clear to many that Brexit has paralysed decision making and forward thinking as there are too many unknown decisions. But this paralysis is also a potential problem for many.
Previous work has shown that successful organisations are one step ahead of their competitors. They don’t wait for things to get difficult or for problems to occur before they look at change; they continually develop with an insight on themselves and an awareness of the external environment.
In the case of Brexit, nobody knows the outcome or the impact so it is going to be difficult to make change to accommodate the future. What can be done now is to develop a greater insight of the current position and be prepared to change; be agile.
Change the focus
The diagram below shows a typical change programme with a logical approach that commences from the identification of the need to change. This then normally leads to a joint activity of looking at the current and future states and then producing a plan to make the change.
In the current climate this approach is too methodical and too slow as each stage cannot commence until the previous one has completed.
The way that organisations continue to change and develop successfully is often as a result of them constantly having the current insight of their internal capabilities. This enables them to change quickly and reach their desired position much sooner. The following diagram provides an alternative approach to change.
We constantly see established business names ceasing to operate because they have not changed or been able to adapt to the changing environment. Thomas Cook is the latest and their failure has seen some terrible outcomes for customers.
Forward-thinking, agile organisations will be constantly looking at their current state and position with a view to being able to change quickly if necessary.
Review your internal capabilities now
Returning to the early part of this feature, we are often brought into review a contact centre performance when it is not working well. In all cases this could have been avoided with an earlier intervention if only the insight had been there.
Thinking about contact centres and customer service in relation to Brexit. Some very simple questions could be included in a review:
- What is our ultimate capacity?
- What is the skill level of our team?
- Do they have the right tools and knowledge to be able to deal with customers enquiries?
- Are our processes efficient and effective?
- How are our various channels performing and which are showing growth?
- Is our service agile enough?
- What do we need to do to ensure that we can cope with the unpredictable or unknown?
Reviewing the service now will provide the insight to enable a good understanding of the areas for improvement in addition to identifying the starting point for gap analysis should fundamental change be required.
It’s not just Brexit, stay ahead by constant scanning internally as well as externally.
For more information please take a look at www.mpathyplus.co.uk