On April 15th 2021, businesses globally, recognise Get to know your customers day. This may be a quarterly event, but we believe that understanding our customers’ needs and challenges are important every day if we are to earn and retain their trust, supporting and enabling their objectives.
Maintaining the dialogue with our customers during these challenging times
Of course getting to know our customers, and maintaining a dialogue around their evolving needs in order to deepen that knowledge, has become logistically more challenging in this last year when it has frequently not been possible to meet face to face, or host customer visits and workshops or organise networking events. In 2020, we even had to hold 50% of our Customer Review Process interviews virtually, and we expect the same to apply for at least the first half of 2021. Despite the challenges we were able to hold in depth discussions with many of our key customers, reflecting on Airbus performance, strengths and improvement areas, as well as discuss the future together and get a great insight into how we can align our strategies and operations to meet what is important to our customers now and in the longer term.
Virtually adapting our business for our customers
But with challenge, comes adaptation and innovation and above all the need to be flexible and agile. And in all instances, we have very much got used to a new ‘business as usual’, where our people have managed to adapt to safely carry on delivering.
The need to keep in touch with our customers, understanding their problems and taking into account their feedback was stronger than ever. With COVID, our customers’ challenges and need for solutions also evolved and we needed to be present to deliver efficiently and maintain our relationships. As we couldn’t meet in person through meetings and events, we switched to virtual. We held webinars and participated in virtual events. Breakout rooms during webinars became the new meeting at an exhibition and were as effective if not more to get one to one discussions going.
This in a way deepened our relationship with our clients, we are seeing each other in a different context, often sitting in our own homes, which hopefully leads to greater empathy, as we share our experiences and continue to work together during these strange times.
We are looking forward to when we will be able to meet face to face again. We recognize that the way we interact with our customers will continue to change and evolve, we will continue to adapt to meet our customers’ needs.