At ANS we have worked with many Professional Services firms over the years. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, our involvement with such firms has significantly increased. This has led me to start thinking about what a post-COVID-19 world would look like, in the Professional Services sphere.
Is the world economy ever going to be the same again, and is the day of the client lunch dead?
The Office for National Statistics has recently published figures to show that for the quarter ending 30 June 2020, GDP fell by an estimated 19.8%, which is the largest quarterly fall since records began in 1955 as shown in the graph here from the ONS website.
Now we are about to enter a further national lockdown, what does this mean for the economy in general? Unsurprisingly, some economists are predicting a double-dip recession and a further GDP fall.
Since the start of lockdown a lot of us have adapted to working from home, collaborating more on video with our teams and our colleagues and even our clients, but for Professional Services firms the key ingredient to success can sometimes be those close relationships formed with clients over lunches, dinners and get-togethers.
Indeed, some of our long lasting personal relationships are formed during our working life with colleagues and clients alike. When talking to our clients in the Professional Services industry they are questioning how can they maintain those close relationships, and develop new ones if they can no longer meet face to face for the foreseeable future.
These relationships need to be nurtured and in pre-COVID-19 times, this was much more easily done, resulting in long lasting relationships in some cases that led to clients becoming friends. I know this first hand as one of my wife’s best clients has become a close family friend and is now a godparent to my daughters, as is one of her colleagues!
The question we all need to ask ourselves in the Professional Services sector is how do we replicate the client lunch in 2021? How do we change the way we nurture relationships from lunch or drinks to a digital meet up. And more to the point how do we keep ourselves honest in doing that?
We all know that doing this digitally is a lot harder than in person, and we also know that face to face is always more fun. Let’s not forget that!
So in this new world we need to re-imagine business development, look at how we nurture relationships digitally and do so simply and effectively, supporting our business development leaders in driving the economy to back up where it belongs.
Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to focus on how we can support this ‘new normal’ from a digital offering perspective. How can we use digital technologies to help maintain and enhance existing relationships, and develop new ones?
I will share some of the successes we are seeing at ANS, and will offer some tips and tricks that can help us all through this next phase of the pandemic.
Look out for the next article in a few days’ time.
Written by Neil Stewart