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The Ultimate Roadmap To Business Recovery

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The Ultimate Roadmap To Business Recovery

A few weeks ago I was having coffee with a close friend when he said to me, “Chris, you have a lot of experience, what do you think businesses should do to recover from this crisis.”  When I get asked questions like these, I always try to think back to a real-life experience as opposed to some theory.

So, I narrated this real-life story to him that I want to share with you too.

Many years ago, when I was working my way up the corporate ladder in the Marketing department, I decided to make a switch in industries and joined the financial sector with a leading bank in Australia. It was a dream job. I got the designation I wanted, the responsibilities were challenging, and the experience was great.

However, a few months into my career here, our bank announced a merger with another financial institution. The merger process got into gear. Fortunately or unfortunately, the acquiring entity had the same business offerings as ours, with the flagship product being Home Loans. Given that the financial institutions were similar, nearly every job was duplicated. This meant that one in two jobs would disappear, including the CEOs, including mine. Now began the tale of troubles.

Given this scenario and the fact that we were being acquired, A greater personal fear was the fact that I had no prior experience in banking and was one of the most recent employees – both not very favourable for me personally. I thought it was going to be a case of LIFO (Last In First Out).

Worried, I informed my Executive Manager that I would begin looking for another job. My manager informed the CEO who immediately came down to meet me. He offered me a few pieces of sage advice. For one, he explained that given the situation he himself was not in a position to guarantee the safety of my job because his job wasn’t secure as well. However, what he said next stuck with me – “You are exactly the type of person we need in the new merged entity. I cannot guarantee you a job; in fact, I myself may become redundant. I can, however, tell you we need people who will not get distracted by the merger but rather will focus even harder on their job.” He went on to explain that now was not the time to indulge in worried exchange of notes on hearsay, but, “Now is not the time to hide, now is the time to shine and get noticed.”

Buoyed by this conversation I decided to stay in my job and give it my absolute best shot. Following this, I attended a Customer Management conference where Bryce Courtenay the author of The Power of One was the keynote speaker. He used a phrase: “When you are skating on thin ice you might as well tap dance.”  We were definitely skating on thin ice at the time and hearing Bryce made me wonder that we could also make the best of the situation! My team and I embraced this quote and used it as an empowering belief to inspire us to achieve new heights.

The sales challenge was massive; our home loan portfolio was already going backwards at the rate of knots. Where we were once making AU$65+ million a month, our sales revenue had dropped to AU$52 million. The entity that we were merging with, on the contrary, was doing better than us in the home loans segment.

Under these challenging circumstances, which strangely enough is quite similar to what several businesses are facing globally, there was one strategy that I followed – and that worked brilliantly.

So what exactly did I implement? Well, it was a 4-Step Critical Business Recovery Plan that engaged all stakeholders, as shown in the chart:

The two key success factors were:

  1. We developed all our strategies based on strong customer insights that we gathered via smart surveys.
  2. We galvanised our staff and enlisted their complete support to deliver and drive the organisation towards the key results we were aiming for.

And guess what! Where we had dropped from AU$65 million odd to AU$ 52 million, with our Strategic Recovery Plan, we crossed the AU$120 million sales mark which was a record sales result for the bank.

So, what do you think made us not just recover and bounce back, but achieve record sales results? It was a focus on two key stakeholders: our customers and our frontline staff. And here is why:

If you step right back, it is imperative that any business that is keen to recover from any difficult situation and thrive needs to have a clear insight into customer behaviour. This is because customers make a decision to buy from you, stay loyal and recommend you to others. Once you understand these aspects you can create magic.

Similarly, it is your frontline staff who understand the pulse of your customers the best. They know what policies and products are favourable for your customers and what are not. Hence, engaging them and providing them with clear guidelines to achieve your business’ goals is a clear step forward towards recovering your portfolio.

Going back to my time at the bank, these were the critical insights and the 4-step action plan that helped us tide over the crisis in quick time. Over the years since I’ve implemented this very same 4-step action plan for several portfolios going backwards. And every time, we’ve achieved nothing but record sales results and market share gains.. This same technique was used to take a brand from being the worst in its category to the best after eight months of relentless negative media coverage.  It was also used to achieve massive Net Promoter Score® increases of 80+ points in B2B and 60+ points in B2C.

With the effects of the pandemic stretching into six months now, the financial sector is sure facing the impact quite strongly. Even as businesses that were already not doing well before the pandemic faced the heat with the lockdown, businesses that were otherwise thriving are also now in a fix with uncertainty prevailing over the economic road ahead.

As per RBI’s latest report, about 29% of the banking sector that was enjoying a healthy business pre-Covid-19 has been impacted now. However, at least 42% of the banking industry was already stressed pre-Covid-19, and are already have a debt of Rs. 22.2 lakh crore. NBFCs alone contribute Rs. 7.98 lakh crores to this debt amount.

These challenging times are when you have the perfect opportunity to throw the best customer experience party ever and grab the best share of the market pie. And to do this, all you need is the Critical 4-Step Action Plan.

As a goodwill for businesses that are determined to beat the challenging times and recover their market share, I am revealing for the first time the ultimate business recovery roadmap in an exclusive webinar titled From Powerless To Powerful. In this free webinar, I share many such experiences in business recovery and provide critical insights into what could work best for your business. You can register for this on the Facebook and Linkedin handles of Engaged Strategy. I have also authored an ebook with the same title - From Powerless To Powerful - that is available for free.

Similar to how we not only recovered but also doubled our home loan portfolio, I look forward to witnessing your business chart an inspiring success story with the ultimate roadmap to business recovery that I share in my webinar and ebook.

Wishing you success always.

NPS®, Net Promoter® and Net Promoter Score® are registered trademarks of NICE Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company and Fred Reichheld.

Christopher Roberts

Chris is a Global Brand and CX Expert. He is the Managing Director of Engaged Strategy, which is the world’s first official distributer of Nice Satmetrix. Chris is the developer of the Total Engagement Model, which designs and aligns key elements to maintain brand integrity and customer focus. He is a published academic author and a guest lecturer at the University of Queensland at a Masters Level.