Ann-Marie Kelly

Ann-Marie Kelly, Customer Service Manager


There’s no doubting that the past 10 months have thrown challenges at businesses the length and breadth of the country like never before.  Redundancies, furloughing and ill-health have reduced the size of many workforces; certain supply chains have experienced delays; and confidence in some markets has been thrown a blow like never before.

Yet business hasn’t totally ground to a halt, instead it’s operating in amongst a set of new challenges and in an environment where support and empathy from partners is of utmost importance.

Customer engagement has always been important; today it’s vital.

Consenna has more than tripled in size over the last year – that’s a great result in any economic climate, in the context of Covid however, it’s phenomenal.  There are, no doubt, some businesses that have profited (profiteered, even) directly because of the pandemic, we’ve simply stuck resolutely in what we believe in.

We’re committed to positive disruption and utilise speed, agility, and flexibility to respond to our customer needs – Covid has changed a lot of things, but it’s not changed that!

But what does that mean for how we approach customer engagement when times are tough?

Ideally when a customer is struggling, they’ll let you know, but in times of extreme pressure a multitude of coping (or not!) mechanisms are employed and a call for support cannot be guaranteed.  It’s then that truly knowing those customers comes in to its own.  Has their engagement in a programme started to dwindle?  Has communication ground to a sudden halt.  Are timeframes being pushed out again, and again, and yet again..?

These signals suggest a customer is under increased pressure and I’m a firm believer in the power of drawing on the strength of a relationship to tackle this situation head on.  Be direct, ask them what if anything can be done to assist them, try to identify opportunities where you ease a burden in the short term, or adapt work methodology to accommodate them in the long term.

Be quick, be agile and be flexible – don’t settle, don’t compromise, and don’t take those customers for granted.

It’s unusual at the moment to find customer challenges as isolated incidents, so having these direct conversations provide us with key insights into the wider channel and ensure that we’re in tune with shifting priorities.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution in the current climate – indeed, there never should be – but by remaining flexible, adaptable, and empathetic, whilst appreciating the individuality of each customer, and keeping an eye on the goal, it is possible to support customers, strengthen relationships and weather the storm together.