Jericho Conversations

Business Life After The Virus: What happens to the customer?

by .

There is a new abnormal but the need for intimacy won’t go away.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Jericho Conversation What happens to the customer? – with Sir Ian Cheshire, Chair, Barclays UK; Catherine Colloms, MD Corporate Affairs & Brand, Openreach; Sarah Gillard, Mission Director, John Lewis Partnership; and Darcy Wilson-Rymer, CEO, Costcutter Supermarkets Group.

“Generic customer or business experience just doesn’t exist. Everyone’s challenges will be different in
this very uneven landscape.”

Sir Ian Cheshire

Ian on 5 years change in 5 weeks

“There will be an awful grinding of the gears coming. Some businesses will never re-open”.

“We need to think about resilience and resourcefulness in business much more and work out how to value and measure it. It’s about having flexibility and adaptability to change and pivot in a time of crisis or need”.

“Government will be much more open to coalitions and ideas from businesses going forward. We have a responsibility to go to them with ideas for a greener and fairer society”.

“The crisis has unlocked a huge amount of flexibility around remote working that we would not have seen otherwise. A lot of what we thought was impossible has been possible to achieve”.

Catherine on innovation from the ground-up

“There is a lot of background noise at the moment. Only 54% of customers want to hear more about how brands are helping in the crisis”.

“How can we predict which of the ‘abnormal’ trends we are seeing might be here to stay? A move to a cash-free economy? The death of the High Street or only certain retailers?”

“Large businesses must consider deeply how they utilise and serve the local communities. Without local expertise and knowledge, we could not run the business. We look at what ideas have come from individuals solving problems in their area and bring them up to a company level – innovation has often come from the ground up”.

“We don’t have to complete on the same sources of value. Find what your customers come to you for and build creativity into how you interact with them”.

Sarah on optimistic collaboration

“The amount of empowerment organisations can give to their local units will be essential. Devolving power to your people to define what success looks like within their communities”.

“It’s been a liberating experience to be able to go straight to our customers and ask ‘What do you need?’”

“Post COVID-19 the businesses that flourish will learn to dismantle hierarchy and bureaucracy”.

“Large organisations are significant employers in communities so their responsibilities go beyond what they sell. How do they support charities and respond to the needs of the communities in which they exist?”.

Darcy on accelerated localism

“There is no one size fits all. All customers have different experiences and different needs. What customers immediate needs are have been changed by the crisis”.

“COVID-19 has accelerated many things and slowed down many others. Agility and flexibility will be needed to solve the problems left behind. There is a recession coming and we need to adapt”.

“The customer wants to support the independent retailer and retailers need to understand what the community needs. An increase in delivery to vulnerable people, for example, has been essential and looking back we should have been doing that sooner”.

If you would like to (re-)watch the webinar in full
you can do so here.

What Happens to the Customer? was developed in partnership with The Foundation. Insights from their customer panel are available here.

We hope that we can keep the conversation flowing, as we look, optimistically, to business life after the virus.

#JerichoConversations – Next Up

Join us for Jericho Conversations: Investing in Society, Friday 5 June 12.30 – 1.45pm (London).

With so much talk about Building Back Better (and Greener), what in the Investment sector and capital markets needs to change? What shifts do Asset Managers and Asset Owners need to take, to make this real? Will they escape the clichés and confines of (ESG) compliance?

John Kay, economist, author and fellow of St. John’s College, Oxford will kick us off. The panel includes Catherine Howarth, CEO, Share Action; Leon Kamhi, Executive Director, Head of Responsibility, Federated Hermes; and Lord Maurice Glasman, Labour peer, Common Good campaigner, originator of the “Blue Labour” movement.

#JerichoConversations – Join In

This note is being shared with the wider Jericho community – 4,000+ business leaders, politicians & policymakers, academics and experts, activists and campaigners, media and commentators. Your participation and support is what makes it special.

All Jericho Conversations to date are available on Do get in touch if you have thoughts or ideas to share or would like to find out more about Jericho and/ or working with us to help build a better society.

Keep well. Stay safe. Take care.

Robert, Becky, Becca, Roxi and Team Jericho
May 29 2020

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