Continuing support for Asprey clients during lockdown and beyond
Asprey is in the fortunate position of having an ongoing project workload and sales pipeline that does not require us to take advantage of the government's furlough scheme, and we do not require loan assistance. During this coming recession, many businesses large and small will be less fortunate but, on this occasion, lives, as well as jobs and money, will be lost in its wake – a sobering thought. Business activity regenerates, but history and experience tell us that business models after wars and recessions must change; not least, to serve customers with permanently or temporarily depleted workforces and finances, and different expectations.
Asprey’s workload and a raft of new product releases promise a very busy 2020 but productivity increases due largely to travel reduction and a remote client service model will enable us to achieve more than we anticipated before lockdown. Our experience with working across our three offices in recent years appears to have allowed our people to adapt quickly to remote working. At Asprey we pride ourselves on ready access to our advice and people for customers, but site visits and travelling have limited this in the past. Client video/audio conferences, staff meetings, product demonstrations, account management meetings, training and technical support have all been more effective than site visits. Even within three weeks, remote client service has proved to be so successful that we are looking to continue it as a preferred business model going forward, from our Kings Lynn and Birmingham offices.
Obviously, there are going to be occasions where on-site meetings are required but we would seek to make them the exception, because of benefits to our clients such as the following:
More timeslots and improved availability of our people
More concise and focussed client meetings and outcomes
Service improved from fresh preparation and contemporaneous recording of conferences
More alert attendees at meetings
Arranging client attendees for a meeting is simpler, and meetings can be repeated readily for unavoidable absentees
Instant access to other Asprey specialists during meetings
Shorter, more frequent, less expensive, remote training courses for clients
Materials can be passed to meeting attendees instantly
Cost saving on travel expenses
Reduced lifecycle cost of system ownership
Even though we are still in new territory, we believe this list of benefits will continue to grow for our customers in the future and are confident in continuing with this model. in addition to the benefits to customers mentioned above, we are especially pleased that remote working is helping us to reduce our own carbon footprint from travelling fewer miles. We are always looking at ways to reduce our environmental impact and, as travel is our main source of emissions, we are happy to see it reduced, alongside the following further benefits:
Less physical and mental travel stresses improve people’s performance;
Travelling time becomes productive time
Meeting preparation, recording and topic resolution is more accurate without travel delays;
Follow-up questions can be addressed more rapidly
Improved quality of life for employees
Increased and more immediate availability of staff for collaborative work and consolidation of corporate knowledge
Eliminated the time cost of travel (that is always borne by Asprey or its staff, quite apart from expenses recharged)
As a Microsoft house, we utilise Office and MS Teams, but we also use Zoom for demonstration and training purposes, where we apply additional security measures in line with manufacturer recommendations to ensure that we prevent unauthorised access to digital meetings. We have also used Cisco, Skype and Google conferencing media over this short period.
In view of the likely economic recession, unemployment, and their impact on our customers and their own customers long after lockdown ends, it is essential that we are able to improve our service, and we believe this new business model allows us to do so. As a company, we believe that we can make our people and their knowledge more accessible by continuing with remote working as our business model. The exciting product initiatives during the remainder of this year include a game-changing analytics portal and a Cloud version of our asset management systems “Asprey Assets” (which will be announced soon) all lend themselves to remote implementation, support and maintenance, as our Cloud based systems and hosting capabilities evolve.