Is it Safe?
Understanding how customers and employees view organisations has long been a staple part of market research. Only through accurate and honest feedback can organisations understand what is important to its customers and how well it is meeting their expectations. The blind spots and gaps between the organisation’s own perceptions and actual views need to be known and addressed.
As the pandemic continues to unfold, we are all making adaptions to how we work and live. Having a clear understanding of the views of customers, employees and suppliers is crucial to moving forward with confidence. Especially, as this is a new and rapidly evolving situation.
The easing of lock-down restrictions mean doors can be opened, but that does not mean all customers will return or behave in the same way as before. Perceptions of safety have a profound impact on customer behaviour. It is reasonable to expect some people to be more cautious than others and others to be frustrated by safety measures. Four broad types of behaviour can be expected:
All industries will be different, due to the nature of their business, customer profile, physical location and extent to which social distancing is realistically possible. We use the term realistically possible, as people’s actual behaviour is often very different and far more chaotic than the imagined orderly, spaced procession indicated by floor markings and signs.
In addition, the behavioural segmentation is likely to be more rigid / fluid in different industries, meaning it will be a harder task for some organisations to shift perceptions than others.
To move forwards, organisations therefore need to accurately understand:
How customers view changes to products and services: fundamentally do they feel safe and reassured by the organisation’s Covid response?
How its own customer base segments.
How entrenched or flexible customer behaviours are.
Expected short and long-term financial impacts arising from changes in customer behaviour.
The factors that are driving perceptions and customer behaviour.
Where to make changes to have the greatest positive effect on perceptions and behaviour.
While there are many influencing factors that will be outside of an organisation’s control, for example the perceived safety of public transport, the actions each organisation takes will have a direct and potentially lasting impact on how it is perceived. Especially, if it is perceived negatively, placing profits before people.
Employees and Suppliers
The same principles equally apply to employees and relationships with suppliers and other stakeholders. In particular, it is essential that organisations understand the expectations, concerns and takes into consideration the emotional wellbeing of its staff.
The actions it takes and how it communicates them, can have considerable impact on its reputation, relationships, staff retention and its ability to attract new staff members.
Internally, organisations need to accurately understand:
Perceptions of safety: fundamentally do your staff and suppliers feel safe and reassured by the organisation’s Covid response?
Measures taken by suppliers and how it impacts the operation and staff safety.
Staff satisfaction with current / planned working practices & communication
How employees are coping, their wellbeing and emotional support requirements
The actions an organisation takes and the language, methods and emotion it uses to communicate these changes all play a part in shaping perceptions and ultimately, behaviour. It is vital that organisations understand how they are perceived and know where to dedicate time and resource to positively influence these perceptions.
Market research gives a clear understanding of the needs, expectations and perceptions of customers, employees and suppliers. Crucial for organisations to move forwards with confidence.
We appreciate you taking the time out to read our blog and hope it is useful. For more information please visit our website. Alternatively, please get in touch and we will be happy to help.
+44 (0)115 7270321