Many have had to close their doors, placing employees on furlough or, worse still, making redundancies. Others have had to continue operating safely in often challenging conditions to provide essential products that help in the fight against coronavirus. Spectra is one such business.
At the height of the pandemic, we witnessed unprecedented orders for hand sanitiser bottles, working round-the-clock shifts to ensure products reached those in need as quickly as possible.
The commercial difficulties caused by COVID-19 have tested many companies now navigating what many now refer to as the ‘new norm’. In many respects, the business landscape will never be the same again. Businesses that thrive on human interaction to provide a personalised service, such as Spectra, have had to re-evaluate their strategies to stick to their core values.
With a greater reliance on remote technology, which some may see as an inferior makeshift substitute to human interaction, Spectra sees its role as complementary with genuine added benefits, according to our Sales Director, Jonathan Powell.
He said, “Covid-19 has impacted everyone’s lives, both on a personal level and in the workplace. As a business, we have had to counter many challenges over the past year, ensuring the safety of our employees while satisfying unprecedented demand for our products”.
He added, “Customer interaction continues to be fundamental to our ongoing success. However, as more and more people work remotely, we have had to adapt to the changing face of business to ensure customers continue to feel supported. Technology has most certainly helped us achieve that”.
Unsurprisingly, one of Spectra’s initial concerns was whether the available technology would align with their customer-focused business model. However, what we have found was the enforced changes have reaped benefits for both our customers and us. Rather than seeing a decrease in customer contact, we have witnessed increased interaction thanks to platforms like Teams, Zoom, or Google Hangouts.
Refreshingly, Spectra has also seen other departments within the business embrace remote face-to-face dialogues with customers, whereas before, telephone or email would have been the traditional communication method.
Jonathan explained, “By embracing remote face-to-face technology, all departments at Spectra are undoubtedly more accessible to customers than ever before. In many ways, we are increasing customer contact and support, at a time when it is theoretically more challenging to do so”.
Spectra has also been carefully crafting a new website, which will be launched in May 2021. Keen to ensure the new site has been developed to complement the ‘new way’ of doing business, many of its features have been specifically created with the customer in mind. The design process has seen us look in even greater detail at how we can maximise our online communications for the benefit of the end-user.
Spectra believes the new site is another excellent example of its desire to create a benefits-based experience that builds interaction and gets to the core of customer needs, preferences and behaviours.
One such feature on the new site is MYSPECTRA (https://myspectra.spectra-packaging.co.uk/) – an innovative personalised online portal that enables customers to gain exclusive access to a wealth of information not available to the casual visitor.
Other features include animated explanations of how products are made, an easy-to-use product selector and a sample ordering system that integrates with MYSPECTRA. Customer education also plays a vital role, with an information-rich responsibility section focusing on recycled products, recycling processes, and bio-plastics.
COVID restrictions have also restricted another key element of Spectra’s sales support, namely customer factory visits.
Until the outbreak of COVID-19, visitors to our modern purpose manufacturing facility were consistently impressed by enthusiastic and knowledgeable employees, happy to engage and share their extensive industry expertise. According to Jonathan, although safety continues to be paramount, a lack of visitors partaking in conventional meetings and tours has proved frustrating.
“Factory visits have always been a key way to show visitors what Spectra is all about. Our tours show what we are trying to build here; they introduce passionate and approachable staff and offer an educational insight into all the processes involved in producing bottles and closures”.
Unperturbed, Spectra didn’t want a lack of human interaction to hamper what can be an essential customer relation-building exercise. With this in mind, the company is developing an innovative remote platform that offers more than conventional virtual tours, including movies, Q&A’s from staff members and in-depth departmental touchpoints.
Jonathan concluded, “In many ways, the pandemic has normalised remote working. That said, when we eventually return to some form of normality, those businesses that have embraced new ways of doing business will be better placed to navigate the hurdles ahead and engage and support their valued customers. In our view, there are genuine opportunities that may not have fully explored pre-pandemic. COVID-19 has shown how resourceful businesses can be, and Spectra is most certainly up for that challenge”.