Whether it is a client call, a call to a supplier, or to family, or friends – the first question we all ask at the moment is ‘How is everything affecting you at the moment?’
As things change daily, we seek to understand how others are experiencing lockdown, how their customers are behaving, how their supply chain is, whether my elder relatives have food supplies without going out, whether my friend has anyone they are concerned about being ill.
Between friends, we might sound out the latest government updates and how we interpret them. Or how we are dealing with what people refer to as ‘homeschooling’ (although certainly in my household I couldn’t profess to call it that). With clients, we seek to understand and predict consumer behaviour, to deliver brand messages and content that hit the right buttons during this unprecedented time.
With our team, we are providing weekly FAQs. It is very difficult to give certain answers on anything during this most uncertain time but by being as open and transparent as we can and providing up to date thoughts on how we interpret the situation, we hope that we can reassure our team that we are in this together wholeheartedly and focused on the future.
Everyone has had to become an expert in government advice and initiatives that are completely new, and even the experts are learning at the same rate as business owners. We don’t profess to be experts but all sharing is good sharing at this time.
We have shared some FAQs that demonstrate some of what we have been doing:
Our plan of action has been and is, centred around 5 key areas;
We are a service business, we are here for our clients, we provide tangible results, but the Clicky team are not just service providers. We employ team members who align with our values and although we are a diverse set of personalities, our core values are the same. This shines through when you see a group of us in a client meeting – you can see the commonalities that mean our clients know they are in trustworthy hands.
Ultimately our plan of action for people has been to do the right thing by them. For every government update, the question is ‘what is right for our team?’.
With regards to working from home – choosing the right time to get everyone home was important. Helping them set up and ensure they are comfortable in their new set up. Surveying weekly to pick up any issues before they become bigger issues. Ensuring we still send birthday cards and celebrate anniversaries. Checking in with those with children to see if they need support.
As with all businesses we have had challenges. Although we can pick up and work from anywhere, our clients have been affected. We work across multiple sectors so for some clients they are ok, for others, this has been devastating for their business revenue in 2020. In turn that affects the number of people, we need to service our clients. We have taken a musketeer attitude to this, we do have a small number of people on leave as some work is reduced, and across our team, we have all taken a reduced pay for the short term. We do this because we are in this together, we are in this for our clients, and we are in this for the long term.
We use slack and always have done – we have channels called agency general, clicky community, clicky happy place, finance, client and project teams – the list goes on. What is our regular internal communication strategy at this point in time?
We made the 1% pledge at the beginning of our last financial year (August 2019) – 1% of product, 1% of time, 1% of profit and we partner with The Brain Tumour Charity. We also have our slack channel “Clicky Community”. The team are philanthropic without our intervention and the channel is filled with how they have all helped in their local communities. We are helping our partner charity with 3 briefs of digital support that they need currently. We are also trying to help with the provision of laptops for school children. Our local MP has forwarded our offer of help to the council, so we hope to be able to help there. We would love to do more and would love to partner with others to do so.
We have always run a tight ship and measured every Finance measurement there is to be measured. We have strong client partnerships, and we know when we will be paid. Did we run our ship a little tighter in response to the current situation? – yes, of course.
The most important thing was to pivot for our clients. There would be no point sitting back and not thinking about each client’s unique position in this crisis. We have built strategies for clients to hold their brand through this crisis, planned well-timed ads adjusting in micro-moments so that we are ensuring we are one step ahead and ‘reading the room’ for our client’s customer base. We know for each client when to ‘turn on the tap’ again, everything is ready.
So when it comes to Finance, the main issue for us would be clients not paying on time. We did not avoid the hard conversations and we phoned clients before they phoned us. Openness and transparency are our core values and we like to follow the ‘eat that frog’ mantra in terms of making sure you do the biggest, most important things first and do not avoid the hard stuff – for those that have read that book.
The first operational finance activity we undertook was a huge spreadsheet demonstrating all of our ‘what if’ scenarios. This continues to be our bible of planning and is updated daily.
We don’t profess to be experts but we are always willing to share what we do in terms of operations, what we measure, how we measure (spreadsheet templates), how we keep the engagement, culture, and the fun things we do as a team. And we would love to partner with other businesses to provide support to the community. We have been asked to join multi-business boards, attend client board meetings, and we are very willing and want to help – please do let us know if we can help in any way.