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Considerations for Managing Customer Demand for Atypical Services During and After the COVID-19 Crisis

Posted October 30, 2020 in Articles

The COVID-19 crisis has forced companies to adapt in unprecedented ways. From providing remote services to providing delivery of food and retail products, many companies have adopted new core strategies that weren’t even on the radar at the start of the year.

So, what happens when these strategies are no longer necessary?

While the end of the COVID-19 crisis cannot come soon enough for most people, many have become accustomed to the services that companies have been offering during the pandemic. As a result, even when normal business can eventually resume, many companies will face the question of whether it makes business sense to return to the “old” normal.

Are the Changes for the Better?

Since the early months of the pandemic, commentators have been saying that certain things will never be the same. In the business context, this largely pertains to companies maintaining remote workforces and providing remote services. Delivery services have become more popular as well; and, even when people can attend meetings, go out to eat and go shopping without COVID-19 being top of mind, there is a good chance that many will still prefer certain things the way they are right now.

This raises an important question: Are certain changes that have been made in response to the COVID-19 crisis better irrespective of the virus? In many cases, customers (and employees) are likely to answer this question with a resounding, “Yes.” When this is the case, the question then becomes whether the changes are sustainable—and whether they make sense as a business strategy moving forward.

When Is it Time to Reset and Reframe Customers’ Expectations?

Although it will likely make sense for companies to adopt some changes implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis on a long-term basis, this is not going to be the case across the board. When reverting to old business practices, companies will need to be careful to ensure that doing so does not push their clients or customers away. Generally speaking, addressing these types of concerns entails:

    • Surveying clients or customers to gain a clear understanding of their preferences and priorities;

    • Conducting financial and operational assessments to make data-driven decisions based upon quantitative factors; and,

    • Framing new (or old) services in such a way that they appeal to clients or customers and represent an improvement over the temporary measures implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

While the future still remains uncertain, it is time for businesses in all industries to begin thinking about their strategies for retaining customers and driving growth in the wake of the pandemic. The companies that start looking toward the future now are the ones that will be at the forefront of their markets in the months and years to come.

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