Blog 12 June 2020

How to win in the age of the next normal

by Richard Farrell


Historically, the best supplier won the contract. In the ’90s, organisations controlled information and data was king. More recently we have seen mobile and social forces resulting in a transfer of power to buyers. Customers lead and the race to differentiate competitiveness is increasingly challenging.

And then in March 2020, everything stopped for a beat… and then changed.

As we come out of lockdown, and organisations scramble to brace themselves for the next normal, we asked our CINO, Richard Farrell, does CX still matter at all when resources are scarce and rearranging operations takes priority?

Critical next steps

Making sure your organisation is ready for what comes next just became priority number one. Even though nobody is entirely certain what that future looks like, or the economic parameters that we will be working within. But, getting it wrong could be costly.

Digital interactions seem to be the only certainty for the immediate future. From conducting business online and video conferencing through to enabling staff to do their jobs entirely remotely, without the paper and machines they used to use. McKinsey’s survey UK B2B decision maker response to COVID-19 crisis shows us that “Enabling effective digital interactions with customers will be even more critical for B2B companies – stated importance of digital is up by 2-3 x after COVID-19.”

If digital transformation was an aspiration before, digitisation of process is a necessity now. And it needs to be done fast. Just like any recession that has come before this one, those that move early and decisively do best. Acting with a through-cycle mindset will put you in the best position to accelerate out of the downturn.

And, it’s amazing what can be done when it has to be done. There are some tremendous examples of incredibly fast changes which would likely have taken much longer before they became so critical. New systems have been built. Workforces have moved out of offices to their homes. Those that are already operating in the cloud have proved their ability to pivot rapidly and work in an agile way.

Your contact centre is only as strong as your tech

The contact centre is a prime example. Take a staff heavy, office-based, multimedia-focussed department and switch it to remote working in 24 hours. It is an operational feat but it has been made possible, and even easy, if the right technology is in place. Customers using Liberty Converse have reported being able to make this happen and being astonished at the relative ease with which they made the changes.

“During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Liberty platform was flexible to allow NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde to quickly adapt to make contact with patients and keep our contact centres readily available with the demand for remote working. Using the new flexible Liberty platform technology, we could quickly create new contact centres, to allow staff to work remotely using their mobile devices at home.”

Stefan McLean, Support Team Manager – NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

Better communication and collaboration will pay off

The contact centre is often the first touch-point for customers. It’s vital to make it easy for agents to access information across the business and collaborate with colleagues if they are to successfully help the customer. Agents must be able to effectively manage communication processes to interact across all channels.

A customer who has their needs met, courteously, is a happy customer. Driving productivity and customer service though end-to-end service design saves money and time.

Future proof in the cloud?

By moving to cloud based communications services, businesses will be able to reduce their capital expenditure. Plus, they can move towards a future-proof communications platform designed to scale with their business. Imagine the possibilities with no more silos with legacy and data that flows between systems with integrations.

The digital-led recovery from COVID-19

Digital and analytics-driven productivity improvements may be an important alternative strategy. McKinsey’s research tells us that you can only save 2% using traditional cost-reduction levers. Then, you are able to add 5% savings when you apply digital and analytics tools. It’s clear that accelerating digital only widens the gap between leaders and laggards.

Before COVID-19, customers were in control and service was the only real differentiator. And, getting out of the immediate impact of the pandemic and resultant economic downturn will need a sharper focus. To succeed, enterprises will still have to understand and serve their increasingly powerful customers.

So, CX is still important. We will see a return to the ‘good old days’ of a 120% higher customer retention rate when business is aligned around the customer (Aberdeen) and a 94% of customers who have a low-effort service experience will buy from that same company again (CEB).

Strange as it may seem, in this moment of crisis, it is precisely the moment to boldly advance your digital agenda to improve productivity.

Find out how Liberty Converse, our contact centre solution, can help to prepare you for the next normal.

More on the Contact Centre



Chief Innovation Officer

German-born, Simpsons-obsessed and with a not-so-secret penchant for Welsh techno, Richard is Netcall’s long-serving CIO – he’s been with us for an impressive 19 years, meaning he’s somewhere between ‘living legend’ and ‘part of the furniture’ around here.

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