On the 23rd of March, going into lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic many of us lost the ability to plug into the understanding of our businesses that we generate from our daily interactions with colleagues, customers, and suppliers.

I’m sure like me you’ve heard lots of stories about businesses adapting to their new trading environment, whether this be by:

  • switching markets from wholesale to direct to public;
  • moving from supplying a consumer product to supplying the NHS/care sector; or
  • just pausing service provision altogether and hoping customers are still there when you open up.

Organisations with marketing and research capacity will be undertaking customer, partner, stakeholder insight right now to re-establish contact and discover how their market may have changed in the last 2 months. Which is all well and good for those with those resources, but as a small business how can this be done quickly, simply and at low cost?

Here are five top tips:

  1. INVEST TIME: Dedicate some time to this, it’s an investment in the business and worth thinking about. Don’t underestimate the importance of customer and market intelligence to even the smallest business.
  2. REVIEW YOUR EXISTING RESOURCE: Evaluate your customer/partner/stakeholder contacts to ensure they are held on an application which can be easily accessed and allow you to contact them rapidly about issues that matter via email, and social media
  3. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW; Develop between five and eight ‘closed’ questions i.e. those with a yes/no answer, about your business and try these out on a trusted business contact…..they may advise you that you are asking about the wrong part of your business offer!? Leave some space for some free text too but don’t overdo the questions as even your best friends will be put off giving you honest feedback
  4. ASK CUSTOMERS WHAT THEY THINK: Start by using your email contact list and send them the questions in a format which is easy to use and generates automated aggregated analysis i.e. use something like SurveyMonkey or Snap surveys
  5. TAKE SOME TIME TO LISTEN TO AND UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS TELL YOU: Spend some time looking at the responses and free text and ask yourself if they correspond to your previous business plan. If not, you’ve got some insight to confirm you may need to adapt moving forward

If this sounds like its outside of your experience or you need this doing pronto think about using a local marketing company/research house to help you.

What can we do for you?

Rapid high level insights into the key market trends in your sector through digital face-to-face or telephone tactics;

  • Simple and effective, standardised satisfaction surveys with your existing customer base;
  • Insight on national and regional trends relevant to your business through a one off or regular questions on our ‘omnibus’ survey’;
  • Customised online surveys or depth interviews with new or existing customers to inform your planning.

Who are we?

PH5point0is a proven collaboration between experts in, social research, consultation, and engagement. We concentrate on business strategy, engagement, consultation, service design and research.

Our aim is to help organisations involved in delivering new approaches to strategy, operational management and implementation based upon an understanding of what works.

The principals of PH5point0 are Andy Mills from ampartners.org.uk and Andy Wright from asv-research.co.uk.

Mason believe in partnering with you to create PR & Marketing strategies that transform your business. Nick from Mason media says: ‘we are pleased to partner on this initiative which we think will be good for business following lockdown’

If you need help, advice or actionable customer insight right now give Andy Mills at PH5point0 a call. 

Why PHpoint0? Because that’s smack bang in the middle of the pH value for coffee, and our team love nothing more than good coffee and stimulating chat.

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